Spark Team

Sherry Colbourne Headshot

Sherry Colbourne

CEO

Kristina Svana Headshot

Kristina Svana

DIRECTOR, MARKETING

Michelle Shurland-Jadoo Headshot

Michelle Shurland-Jadoo

Director, Client Services & Operations

Nova Oliphant Headshot

Nova oliphant

Client Services Associate

Aimee Slater Headshot

Aimee slater

MARKETING SPECIALIST

Melanie Marler Headshot

Melanie Marler

DESIGN SPECIALIST

Cara Witvoet Headshot

cara witvoet

CLIENT SERVICES ASSOCIATE

Bookie Adekanye Headshot

Bookie Adekanye

GLOBABLIZATION COORDINATOR

Marie Devakos Headshot

marie devakos

CLIENT SERVICES ASSOCIATE

Melissa Nowakowski Headshot

MELISSA NOWAKOWSKI

COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST

Chantal Queen Headshot

CHANTAL QUEEN

EVENT SPECIALIST

Christine Montag Headshot

CHRISTINE MONTAG

CFO

Sherry Colbourne is a Canadian entrepreneur with decades of experience in Ontario’s high-tech sector. Her career has taken her to the far corners of the world in pursuit of building strategic business relationships for the companies she has served. As CEO, Sherry guides the direction and growth of Spark Centre and advocates for an international approach to the development of Durham Region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Sherry is a strong believer that entrepreneurism brings diverse cultures and people together and that the opportunity for Durham Region lies in its roots as an innovative and diverse Region.

Kristina manages the development and execution of the overall marketing strategy for Spark Centre. She oversees all of the organization’s flagship events and is a chapter leader for Startup Grind: Durham Region. Kristina is helping the organization achieve the growth we expect from our clients and is directly responsible for building the Spark Centre brand as the catalyst of Durham Region’s innovation culture. Kristina also manages The Spark – Spark Centre’s quarterly publication. 

Michelle directs and manages the Client Services team, delivering growth-generating services that accelerate clients’ progress through advisory, education, and networking. Michelle provides clients with opportunities for funding, connections, and development. She brings insight into and generates reporting for funders and internal use, manages the budget and strategy for Client Services, and assists with Spark Centre operations.

Nova joins the Spark Centre Team to help coordinate the Start Up Visa (SUV) program, client education workshops, and client house events. Her role also includes resident client engagement, on-boarding new international clients, and supporting Client Services operations. Nova comes to us with many years of operations and customer service experience. She has a heart for the world, history, and travel; and enjoys giving back to communities.

Aimee assists the marketing team’s strategic initiatives in various areas of communication, events and branding. She also supports the technical needs of the organization and implements the monitoring and maintenance of audio/visual and information technology systems. Aimee also leads the development of online platforms that support Spark Centre’s ongoing virtual events, workshops and programming.

Melanie leads the creative design for The Spark and Spark Centre’s brand. She also provides support for all of Spark Centre’s high potential clients and manages Creative Spark. With an accumulated 20 years of experience in design, Melanie has been able to hone her design skills and gain valuable knowledge of both the editorial and packaging fields with experience designing for Wildly Delicious, Slingshot Inc., Zaxis Publishing, Homemaker’s and Canadian Business Magazine. 

Cara is a member of the Client Services team and takes over the management of local clients from intake to on-boarding. Cara is our onsite Market Intelligence Services point person and dedicates her talent to facilities, book-keeping, and general administration. Her attention to the CRM system and data management is crucial to reporting. Cara is a key resource for Spark Centre’s co-location program and supports workshops, events, and reporting.

Bookie has joined us as the Globalization Coordinator and will be responsible for managing the Startup Visa applications, liaising with SUV partners and applicants, and supporting the Pioneer program administration.  With international exposure Bookie brings relevant experience in areas of business development, immigration consultancy, and customer support. 

She has won a grant aimed at promoting Business Tourism, represented a women’s tourism group at a forum, and has been awarded as a Best Counselor.  Some strengths include immigration consultancy, case management, project management and content development/marketing.  For fun she enjoys writing, travelling, learning new cultures, and working with young people.

Marie has joined us as the Client Services Associate and will be responsible for administration; reception & facilities; and supporting onboarding, workshops, residency, and CRM.  She brings relevant experience in customer service, administration, reporting, and accounting!  Along with her dedication and years of service in Customer Care, her passion for people led her to become a member of the Health and Safety committee and head up the Events Committee.  Marie can be found having fun with her dog, hanging at home entertaining and baking, or remodelling.   

Melissa drives the development and execution of Spark Centre’s communications and public relations strategy. She manages the organizations internal and external communications, actively runs Spark’s social channels and writes content for The Spark: Business and Innovation Magazine. Melissa also works directly with local and national media outlets to ensure Spark Centre and its clients are at the forefront of innovation and technology.

Melissa has over 15 years of experience in communications and public relations, having worked at Corus Entertainment and Harper Collins as a Senior Publicist.

Chantal is responsible for developing Spark Centre’s event strategy and ensuring we are actively supporting and showcasing our entrepreneurs, the organization and working closely to support the partners in our innovation ecosystem. She leads the planning and execution of all events for Spark Centre and its respective programs. This includes client showcase TechEx, the Durham Region Startup Grind chapter, the AVIN program, and the event execution of Spark Centre’s Pioneer Program.

Chantal has worked in every facet of event planning for the past 12+ years. She was the lead wedding coordinator for Bridal Solutions, and more recently, the Event Manager for the Eglington Grand.

Christine is an entrepreneur and business professional with a passion for creating new ventures and supporting those facing challenges. Bringing 20+ years of progressive experience in start-up and turn-around, Chris is well heeled throughout the investor community. Christine was co-founder of tech start-up Ladybug Teknologies (LBT) with offices spanning both sides of the border. 

Before LBT, Chris operated in a very CFO-centric role, working closely with investors of companies that were either in start-up mode or turn-around mode. Christine founded Finance Without Borders (FWB) Inc to service the evolution of a new business, from inception to traction, providing the required level of service while supporting the entrepreneur.