Session 2B: Entrepreneurship

Tomorrow’s Leaders: Business Skills for STEM 

Time and Date: 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM on Saturday May 6th
Session Type: Panel
Panelists: Anna Stukas (Moderator), Caroline Andrewes, Bill Tam, Sarah Main, Janice OBriain and Dr. Alexandra T. Greenhill

Today’s job market requires that entrepreneurs and STEM leaders be more than just technically skilled but also be business-savvy. While having a novel idea or innovative approach will get you far, you also need to know how to pitch, promote and sell your concept. In order to differentiate yourself from the competition, it is important to become well versed in today’s 21st Century skills – critical thinking, communication, collaboration. How do you elevate your ideas and turn them into a successful pitch? What non-technical and business skills are required when starting a STEM venture? This session is not just for entrepreneurs, business skills benefit all STEM professionals aspiring to leadership positions. 

Anna Stukas is responsible for leading Carbon Engineering’s government programs, and interfaces with a broad range of local, provincial, and federal agencies to secure and manage funding in support of CE’s technology development. Prior to joining CE, Anna worked with Angstrom Power, where her responsibilities included intellectual property management, technology licensing, product safety, and creation of international standards and regulations for hydrogen and fuel cells. Anna was a core member of the team that negotiated the successful acquisition of Angstrom by the BIC Group for $18.7M USD.

Caroline Andrewes is the Director, Risk Management for Creation Technologies, multi-national contract electronics manufacturer in Burnaby, BC.  Her role incorporates leadership of corporate functions and strategic projects on behalf of the CEO.  She also serves on the Association of Professional Engineers & Geoscientists BC Council.

A registered Professional Engineer and Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), Caroline has over 18 years of experience with multi-national, high-tech companies in engineering, finance, supply chain, corporate services and risk management. She is recognized for clear communication of vision and strategy, taking a disciplined approach to problem solving and her ability to rapidly synthesize complex information for decision making.

Originally from Ontario Caroline received her BESc in Materials Engineering from the University of Western Ontario.  She is passionate about engaging the next generation of professionals, and takes time out to engage with students as much as possible.  She lives in Vancouver and is an avid trail runner, cyclist and skier.

Bill Tam, President & CEO of BC Tech, has been actively involved in guiding the success of entrepreneurial companies as a founder, executive, investor, advisor and board member for the past 20 years.  He first joined BC Tech as a CEO-in-Residence with the Centre4Growth program, advising over 30 companies from startups to mid-stage technology firms.  Prior to BC Tech, Bill was the CEO of EQO Communications, a mobile startup that created the first mobile Skype application.  Bill was also a Partner at SpringBank TechVentures, an early stage venture capital fund where he led investments in software and wireless.  Early in his startup career, he was a founding executive and Chief Marketing Officer at MetroNet Communications, a next generation telecommunications startup that grew to become the largest competitive telecom company in Canada.  Bill has held senior executive positions at AT&T, Rogers, Jones Cable, Infowave Software and Bell Canada.  He currently lends his expertise as an industry advisor for BCNet, Simon Fraser University and UBC; and volunteers his time supporting students and aspiring entrepreneurs.  Bill holds an MBA from the Ivey School of Business and a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from McGill University.

Sarah Main is the CEO and Co-Founder of Reach Social and a recent graduate from McGill University. Sarah founded Reach Social shortly before her graduation when she became frustrated with the methods of communication and collaboration throughout her university experience. With no technical or business background, Sarah applied for The Next Big Thing under Ryan Holmes where she was selected as one of the top 20 entrepreneurs under the age of 23 to create her venture. A true leader, Sarah assembled a strong team of advisors where she was able to raise a solid first round of financing and was able to bring her product to market. After 12 months, Reach is now going through beta testing at various institutions in the lower mainland. 

Sarah is passionate about raising awareness to encourage women to seek more opportunities in leadership, entrepreneurship and technology.

Janice OBriain is Associate Director of SFU's Venture Connection, a key initiative within SFU Innovates. She is an award-winning manager and community-builder with over 15 years of non-profit/public sector leadership.

Janice was the founding manager of SFU Venture Connection from its 2008 launch until 2013 and developed and was responsible for the initiative’s incubator operations and related programming on all three SFU campuses. Returning in 2015 as Associate Director, she is focused on continuing to grow Venture Connection to be at the forefront of engaged entrepreneurship for students and alumni. 

Prior to her roles with SFU Janice was Executive Associate with Calgary's EPCOR Centre for Performing Arts (now Arts Commons), and General Manager of Kaleidoscope Theatre, a professional theatre for young audiences.

Janice holds both an MBA in Arts & Media Management and a Diploma in Non-Profit Management from the Schulich School of Business (York University), and a Bachelor of Music from UVic. 

Alexandra T. Greenhill is a TEDx speaker, physician leader and tech entrepreneur who is cofounder CEO of myBestHelper, tech that supports people in daily life and times of need as well as the creator of Littlecodr, a game to teach kids coding.  Prior to that she led major new initiatives in health transformation and eHealth in Quebec, BC and nationally. Dr. Greenhill's work has received numerous recognitions including the WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada, YWCA Vancouver Woman of Distinction, BIV Top 40 under 40 and the Queen Elizabeth II Medal of Service. She is also the first Canadian to win the Cartier Global Women Entrepreneur Awards and the 10th to be selected for the Blackbox Connect powered by Google for Entrepreneurs accelerator in Silicon Valley.