Spark Centre Advisors have a wealth of

Knowledge

& Experience

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Our clients have access to a diverse team of advisors with expertise in finance, marketing, sales, investment and more. These industry leaders share their wealth of knowledge and lived experience to guide our clients and support their growth.

ENERGY
INDUSTRY

Ivano N. Labricciosa

ENERGY SECTOR SME

AI / TECHNOLOGY
SALES

Garry Innanen
INNTRINSIC INC.

SALES /
DIGITAL SALES

Rick McCutcheon
FULL CONTACT SELLING
SALES
Robert Weese
B2B SALES CONNECTIONS

HEALTH SECTOR

Len Kleine
HEALTH SECTOR SME
MARKETING

Kevin Smith
THE STORY ARCHITECT

SALES

Bob Spiers
GROWTH & STRATEGIC POSITIONING
MARKETING

Chris Giantsopoulos
BUSINESS ADVISOR AND VENTURE SPECIALIST

HEALTHCARE

Dr. Lubna Tirmizi
PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN LEAD – DURHAM WEST SUB-REGION

EXECUTIVE MENTORING

Judith Pineault
MENTOR,ENTREPRENEUR & C-SUITE EXECUTIVE

FINANCE

Sayani Saiphoo
FINANCE WITHOUT BORDERS

FINANCE

Peter Mandl
FINANCIAL ADVISOR
Headshot Dave Miller

SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGY

Dave Miller

Headshot Peter Crouse

FRANCHISING

Peter Crouse

Spark Centre's

Board of

Directors

CHAIR

Hari Sambasivam

CHAIR

VICE CHAIR

John Dynes

VICE CHAIR

DIRECTOR
Gary Jarosz

DIRECTOR, EX-OFFICIO

DIRECTOR
Christopher Aleong

MANAGING DIRECTOR, NORTH AMERICA & HEAD OF GLOBAL LICENSING, BIOENGINE CAPITAL INC.

DIRECTOR
Nikki Stone

Executive Vice President, Managing Director, Zenith

DIRECTOR
Lori Sterling

BENNETT JONES LLP

DIRECTOR
Randolph Mank
MANKGLOBAL INC.
DIRECTOR
Marina Avisar
MANAGING DIRECTOR, CANADA & GM, FACILITIES MANAGEMENT, NORTH AMERICA, MRI SOFTWARE
DIRECTOR
Saleema Khimji
GLOBAL INNOVATION LEADER, STRUQTA GLOBAL
OBSERVER

Garima Sodhi

SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR, ONTARIO MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT JOB CREATION & TRADE

OBSERVER
Hailey Wright

CITY OF OSHAWA

OBSERVER
Simon Gill

REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF DURHAM

Ivano N. Labricciosa

Energy Industry

Ivano Labricciosa is a proven executive leader with utility industry experience spanning over 30 years. Ivano leverages his leadership skills and change management experiences to effect sustained business performance improvement throughout the organization.

In his latest assignment as the President and CEO of Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation (Oshawa Power), he was instrumental in supporting the energy and communication service needs of Oshawa, Durham Region, and parts of the GTA. As CEO of Oshawa Power, Ivano played a pivotal role in the overall strategic planning of the company and its subsidiaries involved in energy distribution, energy generation, and telecom ventures. His background in engineering, business development, and strategic planning combined with his international experience with alternative and renewable energy brings innovative leadership to not only Oshawa Power, but to Ontario’s energy sector.

Garry Innanen

AI / Technology / Sales

Garry combines 30 years of sales, general management and consulting experience in executive, managerial and technical enablement for Cleantech, Advanced Technology, Government, Healthcare, Financial Services, and Manufacturing organizations. He has helped more than 20 start/scale-ups with funding, mentoring, advice and related services, with a focus on data / information / knowledge management solutions. Notable organizations include Daisy Intelligence, Outside Intelligence, Reqwireless, Digitalembrace, Thoughtwire, Caninsoft, Dataholics, Char Technologies and Bactech Environmental.

Rick McCutcheon

Sales / Digital Sales

Rick is an expert thought leader on the subject of Social Selling and CRM. He has been involved with the technology industry for over 20 years as a company founder, senior executive, board member and educator. He was co-founder of Archer Enterprise Systems and has also been awarded 5 times by Microsoft the Dynamics Solutions MVP Designation for Customer Engagement. Rick is committed to the start-up community working as a business mentor and workshop instructor at the Spark Centre and several other Ontario RIC’s.

Robert Weese

Sales

Bob has worked with startup companies in Medical tech, high tech, software, broadcasting, manufacturing and many diverse markets. He has the unique ability to help founders with technical backgrounds better communicate their value to prospective customers and investors.  A former broadcaster with a long history of entrepreneurship Bob specializes in helping you develop strong sales and presentation skills. Spark clients have been able to quickly accelerate their sales under his guidance and a few have made it onto the Dragons’ Den and secured large investment deals.

Len Kleine

Health Sector

Len is a seasoned executive with over 4 decades of business experience in both public and private arenas. Strong operational and negotiating background. Operated public company trading on Stock exchange, negotiated buy-out to large Multinational. Operated healthcare laundry services company with over 800n staff, 24/7 operation, grew from $22M-$48M. Owned and operated a software company developing a Digital Auscultation device, established distribution and marketing strategy. Developed a Business Development/innovation program at Large Hospital Corporation with 5 Hospitals and 15 clinics, grew the BD department to over $20M and a $1M/year net return to patient programs. Majority experience in Healthcare but also in manufacturing and Import/Export.

Currently the Chairman of The Board for The Swedish-Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Toronto(second time in 10 years). Student Mentor at Ontario Tech for Business Programs.

Fluent in: English, Swedish and German

Kevin Smith

Marketing

Kevin Smith is The Story Architect. Kevin helps businesses & startups unleash their story to secure customers and investors, by helping them understand what their core customer story is and then helping them get their story to market. Kevin spent 14+ years at Dell, B2B Sales, Enterprise Sales, Enterprise Marketing, and M&A GTM Strategy. His expertise include branding, marketing, SEO, content and social media marketing, presentation/pitch design, web design, lead generation, sales coaching and business development. He’s provided mentorship to startups through the RIC Centre, Humber Launch, U of T i-Cube, Startup Toronto/TorontoStarts, Startup York’s Y2 and Startup Next in addition to delivering workshops as a MaRS facilitator.

Bob Spiers

Sales

Bob has spent over 30 years selling services and establishing sales processes while leading and mentoring small teams from early-stage start-up through successful exit. His advice and guidance are provided to entrepreneurs in the areas of sales tactics/process, talent acquisition, strategic planning, capital assessment and M&A, and he has spent much of his time working within the technology solutions/consulting space, and software product development.

Chris Giantsopoulos

Marketing

Chris is an entrepreneur, and instructor who has effectively coached thousands of start-ups in a multitude of industries–he is passionate about entrepreneurship and technology. He is an expert in the Lean Start-up approach as a practitioner, and coach. Focusing on marketing, sales and pitching, Chris believes in a strong & early integration of marketing & sales functions. Chris was a leader at BMO’s Institute for learning, and later co-founder and CEO of a successful fintech sports registration company. A supporter of social causes, Chris has enjoyed travelling to countries such as Uganda, Guatemala, and China, avidly supporting local charities. He likes to quote H. Jackson Brown: “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins, not by strength, but by perseverance.”

Dr. Lubna Tirmizi

Healthcare

Dr. Lubna Tirmizi grew up in Edmonton, Alberta with 5 siblings, 2 dogs, a cat, and a bunny. She attended the University of Alberta and completed her degree in Psychology. Her love for medicine started while volunteering in Islamabad, Pakistan studying the mental health needs of children with disabilities. She completed her medical degree at the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Tirmizi started her residency at the University of Toronto Department of Physiatry but soon due to her passion for family medicine she switched departments. She completed her residency at St. Michael’s Family Practice Unit in 2004.

Since then Dr. Tirmizi has worked in Pickering running two busy offices: family practice as well as urgent care. She also works part-time in long-term care. She has recently joined the palliative care working group in the long-term care setting. She enjoys mentoring students from all backgrounds: high school, nursing, nurse practitioner and international medical graduates. Dr. Tirmizi is currently lead physician for Central Pickering Family Health Organization. Her clinical passion focuses on care of the elderly and complex patients. Her affiliated urgent care clinic often functions as a connector clinic for many unattached patients with health resources in the community.

Dr. Tirmizi is actively involved in multiple health collaboratives in Durham Region. She is a member of the Durham Covid Steering Committee, the Seniors Care Hub initiative, and the Regional Virtual Care Strategy.

Judith Pineault

Executive Mentoring

Ten years C-Suite experience with a large multi-national firm prepared Judith to launch Frontline Strategies Inc, a consulting firm specializing in financial modelling, KPI development, and process management. During this time, she co-founded a custom manufacturing firm specializing in design/build industrial process technologies. As CEO, she led the firm’s business development and financial management, establishing export markets in North America, South America, China, Japan, Morocco & Sweden, including specialties in instrumentation, test equipment, and movable bridges. Having sold the business in 2019, Judith returned to consulting, mentoring start-ups and scale-up enterprises.

Sayani Saiphoo

Finance

Sayani brings full-cycle Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) consulting, project leadership and project management – from leading the planning and analysis of client business requirements and objectives, through successful implementation and digital transformation.

Financial and operational data, including reports and KPI’s to drive the design, and development of FP&A solutions are areas of strength and passion.
Sayani also develops Business Decision Support models for clients, supporting five-year plans for funding- government and financial institutions.

Robert Weese

Sales

Bob has worked with startup companies in Medical tech, high tech, software, broadcasting, manufacturing and many diverse markets. He has the unique ability to help founders with technical backgrounds better communicate their value to prospective customers and investors.  A former broadcaster with a long history of entrepreneurship Bob specializes in helping you develop strong sales and presentation skills. Spark clients have been able to quickly accelerate their sales under his guidance and a few have made it onto the Dragons’ Den and secured large investment deals.

Dave Miller

Software Technology

Dave Miller bio coming soon.

Peter Crouse

Franchising

Peter Crouse bio coming soon.

Hari Sambasivam

CHAIR

Hari brings a deep knowledge of North American financial markets, life sciences and institutional investor perspectives. For over 17 years, he focused on the in-depth financial and strategic analysis of North American biotechnology companies with leading Global and Canadian investment banks. In his role as the Bank of Montreal’s Associate Director of Equity Research for the past decade, Hari managed all aspects of a large team of Equity Research Associates, and led the development of differentiated, high-value products. Hari holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Toronto and has completed the Board of Directors Corporate Governance Program at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, and ESG for Boards at UC Berkeley.tor perspectives. For over 17 years, he focused on the in-depth financial and strategic analysis of North American biotechnology companies with leading Global and Canadian investment banks. In his role as the Bank of Montreal’s Associate Director of Equity Research for the past decade, Hari managed all aspects of a large team of Equity Research Associates, and led the development of differentiated, high-value products. Hari holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Toronto and has completed the Board of Directors Corporate Governance Program at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, and ESG for Boards at UC Berkeley.

John Dynes

CASCADIA EQUITY PARTNERS

VICE CHAIR

John is a respected leader and investment strategist with a proven strength and passion for identifying unique investment opportunities and strategic paths to create value. He brings 20 years of experience in investment management, capital markets and consulting to the Board. John is the President and Founder of Stone Road Advisory focusing on small cap companies and adding value through investment and board leadership. In conjunction with this, he is a Partner at Cascadia Consulting, working with businesses across a variety of industries, bringing his expertise in the areas of financial strategy and analysis. Prior to founding Stone Road Advisory, John spent 16 years on Bay Street as a Partner and Portfolio Manager at JC Clark. John is a CFA and CMT charterholder and is a holder of the ICD.D designation.

Gary Jarosz

DIRECTOR, EX-OFFICIO

Gary Jarosz has over thirty years of progressive experience in the ICT, electronics and manufacturing industries. He was most recently, Vice President at Global Emissions Systems Inc., a leader in emission control technologies, President and CEO of PowerCart Systems Inc., a provider of mobile power solutions, Senior VP, North American Sales and Marketing for Mobile Computing Corporation, a wireless mobile software solution provide, VP Operations for Sharp Electronics of Canada Ltd., and VP/General Manager for eAssist Global Solutions Canada Inc. He held senior leadership roles at Xerox Canada Ltd., and IBM Canada Ltd. 

He holds a Bachelor of Business Management from Ryerson University with postgraduate studies at Harvard Business School, Richard Ivey School of Business and IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. 

He has served as a Board Director for Bridgepoint Health Foundation, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Advisory Centre Durham where he was Chair of the Board for multiple terms and volunteered as a member of the Cabinet of the United Way of Greater Toronto for five campaigns. He is currently a Board Director for Synergy Labs Inc., YRSCC1445 and Chair of the Board for the Spark Innovation and Commercialization Centre.

Christopher Aleong

MANAGING DIRECTOR, NORTH AMERICA & HEAD OF GLOBAL LICENSING BIOENGINE CAPITAL INC.

DIRECTOR

Christopher Aleong has over twenty five years of progressive experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemicals and consumer goods industries. He is currently employed as Managing Director, North America & Head of Global Licensing for BioEngine Capital, a Taiwan based venture capital arm of Center Laboratories. Christopher has been responsible for leading companies through challenges and opportunities with global markets, often impacted by complex regulatory environments.

Prior to BioEngine Capital, Christopher has lived and worked in executive roles outside Canada for almost twenty years. He has held leadership roles in General Management, Finance, Human Resources, Sales & Marketing, Market Access and Commercial Operations in the US, Canada and Asia Pacific Region.

Nikki Stone

Executive Vice President, Managing Director, Zenith

DIRECTOR

Christopher Aleong has over twenty five years of progressive experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemicals and consumer goods industries. He is currently employed as Managing Director, North America & Head of Global Licensing for BioEngine Capital, a Taiwan based venture capital arm of Center Laboratories. Christopher has been responsible for leading companies through challenges and opportunities with global markets, often impacted by complex regulatory environments.

Prior to BioEngine Capital, Christopher has lived and worked in executive roles outside Canada for almost twenty years. He has held leadership roles in General Management, Finance, Human Resources, Sales & Marketing, Market Access and Commercial Operations in the US, Canada and Asia Pacific Region.

Lori Sterling

BENNETT JONES LLP

DIRECTOR

Lori is an experienced board director and senior counsel at Bennett Jones LLP.  She has expertise in human resources with a particular focus on talent in the technology sector. Lori has over 30 years experience working at senior levels at both provincial and federal l governments. She has been Associated Deputy Minister of Justice, Associate Deputy Minister of Employment an Social Development, Deputy Minister of Labour  and responsible for Disability Inclusion with the federal government. At the provincial level, she began as constitutional law counsel  focused on appellate litigation. She was also the provincial Assistant Deputy Minister of Legal Services and the Deputy Minister of Indigenous Affairs. Lori has taught at the University of Toronto Law School on constitutional, Indigenous and employment issues and published numerous articles. She is also Board Vice Chair of Pearson United World College and Governance Chair at Windmill MIcrolending.

Randolph Mank

MANKGLOBAL INC.

DIRECTOR

With over 30 years of experience in both the public and private sectors and as a three-time former Canadian Ambassador, Randolph Mank is the President of MankGlobal Inc., where he supports clients with business development, government relations, and representation services, as well as a writer and speaker on foreign affairs. Before this, Randolph 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.

Marina Avisar

MANAGING DIRECTOR, CANADA & GM, FACILITIES MANAGEMENT, NORTH AMERICA, MRI SOFTWARE

DIRECTOR

Marina is a passionate leader, a game changer, and a customer obsessed innovator, leading technology organizations to success for over 20 years.  With an Entrepreneurial and growth mindset, along with a  gift for vision and creativity, Marina has developed new companies, scaled existing ventures, managed large scale and globally distributed organizations as well as reinvented mature ones – driving unprecedented financial growth and competitive dominance in each framework. She has executed successful exit strategies, raised capital and acquired new companies. With her most recent roles ranging from CEO at MoveSnap, Managing Director at Aspire Software, CEO at Interdev Technologies & Vocantas, and currently the Managing Director, Canada & GM, Facility Management Solutions, North America at MRI Software, Marina brings deep expertise within the Private Equity, MedTech and PropTech markets.

Saleema Khimji

GLOBAL INNOVATION LEADER, STRUQTA GLOBAL

DIRECTOR

Armed with a legal background and IP and partnerships expertise, Saleema has a global career that spans multiple continents and disciplines including her former role as Chief Innovation Officer for MCI Onehealth Technologies Inc., a high-performance healthcare network focused on innovations in primary care delivery and building a fully integrated healthcare and health-data ecosystem. Having learned first-hand that the best innovations come from the cross-pollination of information and insights from diverse industries and people, Seleema has a thorough understanding of creating synergy across cultures, verticals and geographies, within the innovation ecosystem, yielding unique partnerships and collaboration platforms. Saleema has also developed extensive expertise in patenting and nurturing technologies through the development life cycle with a series of healthcare & pharma technology projects, including co-inventing an AI-based sensor technology for counterfeit drug detection and other applications through the University of Oxford. Saleema is deeply passionate about mentoring young girls and women in STEM, entrepreneurship & innovation, and empowering them to excel in their careers.

Garima Sodhi

OBSERVER

Garima Sodhi is Senior Policy Advisor in the Innovation Strategies and Programs Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT). She has a diverse experience in both the public and private sectors across India and North America. Prior to joining MEDJCT, she was a Senior Policy Advisor in the Capital Markets and Agency Relations Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Finance and led some key initiatives to modernize Ontario’s capital markets. Garima holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Delhi University, India and a Master of Science in Economics from TERI School of Advanced Studies, India.

Hailey Wright

City of Oshawa

OBSERVER

Hailey Wright is the Director of Economic Development Services at the City of Oshawa and was appointed to the position in June 2021. Previous to joining the City, Hailey held a number of positions at Trent University Durham GTA for more than a decade, most recently as Manager, Community Relations and Articulation. Hailey is a Trent University alumni and is an experienced leader with extensive knowledge in areas of management, relationship cultivation, and sector development.

Simon Gill

REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF DURHAM

OBSERVER

Simon Gill is a strategic leader, speaker and innovator and is currently the Director of Economic Development with the Region of Durham. His focus is on building international and local relationships to foster economic growth, innovation, and diversification for Durham’s economy. Simon holds a certificate in Economic Development and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University. Prior to joining Durham Region, Simon was a leader in the global solar industry holding senior-level management positions at Ontario Power Generation and SunEdison.