Tim Jackson

President & CEO
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Tim joined SHAD in July 2016 after serving as an Executive Vice-President  at the MaRS Discovery District, one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs.
Tim has an extensive background as an entrepreneur and business leader. He has served as CEO of the Accelerator Centre, an incubator for technology startups and was a Vice President at the University of Waterloo. He co-founded Tech Capital Partners (an early-stage venture capital firm), and served as CFO and CEO at Waterloo based technology firm PixStream (sold to Cisco Systems).

SHAD brings together two of Tim’s passions – supporting innovators and entrepreneurs and building community. Throughout his career Tim has balanced his day to day work with being an active member of the community. He believes SHAD provides the best of both worlds – working every day to ensure Canada has a strong group of inspired young people who will focus on “changing the world”.

Born in the UK, Tim grew up in Oakville and is a graduate of the University of Waterloo’s School of Accounting. He met his spouse through student government while in university – Tim was President of the Ontario Federation of Students and Jane was President of the Canadian Federation of Students.
Tim has been an active volunteer in his community chairing the boards of organizations such as The Waterloo Public Library, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region and the Centre in the Square Theatre. He has cofounded two charitable organizations and believes SHADs are as likely to transform Canada’s non-profit sector as they are to build the corporate sector.
In his spare time Tim is an amateur magician and an avid poker player. 


Eileen Polson, MBA, CHRL

VP, National Programs

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Eileen joined the SHAD team in November 2017. Eileen is SHAD’s national lead on program delivery, and plays a critical role in supporting SHAD’s expansion plans.


Prior to joining SHAD, Eileen spent 15 years as a human resources executive in the financial services sector, fostering peoples’ highest possible engagement, potential and performance.  Her experience includes strategy development and execution, organizational development and change management in decentralized  operational models. Eileen enjoys working collaboratively with diverse stakeholder groups.


In addition to her experience in financial services, Eileen has also worked in large not-for-profit organizations and private and public sector companies.  


Why SHAD? It’s not often you get the chance to make a difference and Eileen is thrilled to have the opportunity to help develop Canada’s next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders, while working with the skilled, passionate and dedicated team at SHAD!     


Eileen has an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University and an Honors Degree in Sociology from the University of Waterloo. She is a graduate of the St. Francis Xavier Adult Education Program and  holds her Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) designation.  


In her spare time, Eileen has several passions including lending her expertise and time to not-for-profit organizations, cooking (and eating), biking and travelling with her husband and son.  She is more knowledgeable about baseball than she would have ever expected, having earned her stripes watching her son play baseball, in all kinds of weather(!) across Canada and the United States.



Mary Dever, CFRE
Director of Advancement
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Mary joined SHAD in September 1998. In her role as Director of Advancement, she leads the organization and development team in fostering mutually beneficial relationships with SHAD's corporate and foundation supporters.
A Journalism graduate, Mary has worked in a number of public and private sector organizations, in industries ranging from education to high tech. Her roles have primarily centred around communications, public relations, sales and marketing.
When not working, Mary divides her time between athletic, professional development, and community interests. In addition to running and weight training regularly, she horseback rides several times a week.  Mary obtained her CFRE designation in 2013. A past member of the Board of Directors of the Kitchener-Waterloo YWCA, Mary is an alumni of the year-long Leadership Waterloo Region leadership practicum, and volunteers her time as a member of Leadership's recruitment committee.


Jackie Hatherly-Martin, FCPA, FCA

Director of Finance

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Jackie joined SHAD in September 2017 after serving as CFO for several organizations including: ReMAP Network, a Business-Led Networks Centre of Excellence and THEMUSEUM in Kitchener. In her role, Jackie is responsible for all areas of financial management of the organization.


Jackie brings extensive experience in assessing and developing financial systems across diverse and growing industries including engineered products - manufacturing and services; consumer goods; property and investment corporations; foundations and not-for-profit enterprises.


Jackie is a graduate of University of Waterloo’s Co-operative Math and Accounting program and is an alumni of KPMG in Waterloo.  After receiving her designation, Jackie worked in New Zealand for a short time and developed a love of travelling. 


Jackie is very community focused and has served on a number of local Boards and campaign cabinets including the Cambridge YMCA, Lisaard/Innisfree House, rare Charitable Research Reserve and the Heart & Stroke Foundation.  Jackie was the volunteer Director of Finance for Lisaard House for 17 years and helped the charity build and manage its growth from six to sixteen beds in two locations.


Jennifer Ross

Director, Marketing and Communications

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Jennifer joined SHAD in November 2018. In her role as Marketing and Communications Director, Jennifer drives the awareness of SHAD and its exceptional program through marketing, public relations and national communications strategies.


With a career steeped in the technology sector, Jennifer has worked with start-ups, small and medium-sized business as well as publicly traded companies to build their brands, and drive thought leadership campaigns and corporate messages. Jennifer led the public relations at Sandvine for seven years and developed communication and media relations strategies for its global corporate marketing programs.  


Well versed in the world of STEAM, Jennifer loves the intersection of business and social impact and believes SHAD is the recipe for creating lasting leaders for social impact. 


In her words, “SHAD is the perfect combination of head and heart. This program attracts a cross-section of brilliant minds and motivated hearts that are driven to make a true impact on the world. The SHAD environment is daring, imaginative and fulfilling.  It is such a thrill to be part of this innovative program.”


Jennifer’s past international efforts have included working on projects with the United Nations where she led communications for the University of Waterloo’s HeForShe program. Jennifer helped launch the UN’s #Countmein campaign at the University and developed media and communication strategies for the program.


After hours Jennifer is a personal empowerment junkie who teaches meditation courses and writes poetry and creative non-fiction. Her husband is a tech marketer and together they are proud Montessori parents with two children in the local alternative school system.



Katie Kocher

Marketing and Communications Lead
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Katie joined the SHAD team in October 2012. Katie is responsible for aiding in the planning, implementation and coordination of various marketing and public relations activities that will focus on SHAD’s communication strategy.
Katie is an alumna of Wilfrid Laurier University, achieving an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a minor in Psychology. From there, she went on to develop concrete Public Relations skills through obtaining a post-graduate certificate in Corporate Communications from Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.  Katie has intensive experience developing and executing various PR and communication plans and strategies for the not-for-profit sector, as well as with the private sector in her internship with Quarry Integrated Communications, a marketing agency.



Cheryl Thompson

Student Coordinator
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Cheryl has worked for SHAD since Christmas Eve 1985! Cheryl is the primary liaison with our SHAD candidates, coordinating the selection process from initial application to host university placement. Her responsibilities include working with our databases, processing student applications, coordinating the evaluation process and making offers to students. She also provides research and statistics for strategic planning and marketing.
When she's not at work, Cheryl likes to read science fiction, watch movies, play pool, garden and travel. She also enjoys basketball, football and tennis (as an armchair athlete)!


Jess Tang

Outreach Lead

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Jess joined SHAD in February 2017 as an Outreach Coordinator and is also the Assistant Program Director for SHAD UBC. She’s a proud SHAD Fellow, having attended the program in 2008 at Trent University. In her role as Outreach Coordinator, she looks to spread the word about SHAD to as many communities across Canada, encouraging student leaders to apply to what she knows to be a life changing program. 
Jess completed her Bachelor of Commerce at the UBC Sauder School of Business and previously worked in Sauder’s Alumni Engagement Office, responsible for building a connected community of students and alumni. Jess is also a motivational speaker for high school and university students, delivering engaging workshops and keynotes on personal, professional and leadership development. 

A passionate mentor, coach and friend, Jess values lifelong learning and community-building. She volunteers as a wrestling coach for high school athletes, and a debate/public speaking coach for university students.


Kyle Blaney

Outreach Lead
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Kyle joined the SHAD team in September 2013 as Outreach Coordinator but his history with SHAD dates back to 1991. In his outreach role Kyle connects with educators, parents, students, and alumni to support student recruitment. Since 2013, Kyle has also been a faculty member at SHAD University of British Columbia where he focuses on mathematics, software development, and photography. Kyle attended SHAD Acadia in 1991 and will never forget the lasting impact it had on his life. He is passionate about the program and thoroughly enjoys encouraging the next generation of SHAD Fellows to apply.

Kyle graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Mathematics degree in computer science and a minor in pure mathematics. Before joining SHAD, he worked as a software developer for over 16 years.


Kyle spends his free time travelling into wilderness (he likes to sleep in a tent!), photographing nature, bird watching, and playing and watching hockey.



Deborah Currie
Director, SHAD Fellow Network

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Debbie joined the SHAD team in December 2017 to drive the strategic development and execution of special events for SHAD. In her role, Debbie will create meaningful and impactful opportunities that garner press and brand awareness for SHAD, foster strong community relations and engage a diverse group of key stakeholders including SHAD alumni and staff.

With an expansive background working with not-for-profit organizations in Waterloo Region, Debbie most recently served as Director, Community Engagement with Centre In The Square, and Director, Operations & Strategic Initiatives with Creative Enterprise Initiative. Prior to these roles, she worked at Wilfrid Laurier University for 15 years, holding positions such as Manager, Academic Events, and Manager, University Events and Ceremonies.

Debbie moved to Waterloo Ontario from London England as a child, and has never left (apart from an incredible 6 month residency in Paris, France!). She has volunteered extensively for over 30 years with charitable organizations making great strides toward meaningful social impact, sharing her ideas, expertise and energy for the benefit of the community. Currently, Debbie is the Chair of the board of The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation which has provided her with a deep understanding of our region’s philanthropic landscape as well as knowledge about, and appreciation for, our community’s not-for-profit sector.

When she’s not working or volunteering, Debbie loves to travel and spend time with family and friends.



Jen Langdon, CFRE
Advancement Coordinator
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Jen Langdon joined the SHAD team in January 2018. In her role as Advancement Coordinator, she’ll improve and grow fundraising and alumni engagement.


Jen has over eight years of experience in engagement focused roles, capturing revenues and sustainable support for organizations. Previously, as the Development Manager with Alumni Affairs and Development at the University of Guelph, Jen worked cross-departmentally with faculty, senior administration, community volunteers and colleagues to engage alumni and corporate friends of the University. From 2013-2016 Jen worked as the Individual Giving Officer with United Way of Cambridge and North Dumfries leading the community-based fundraising activities. 


Jen is a graduate from Brock University (BA) and Humber College (Fundraising Management). She attained her CFRE designation in 2016 and currently holds a position on the Board for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Golden Horseshoe Chapter.


Aside from being involved in the non-profit sector Jen enjoys spending time working on her new home in Kitchener, exercising, reading, and hiking at her parent’s farm in Mount Forest. 



Karalena McLean, MA

Director, Strategic Initiatives

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Karalena “Kara” McLean joined SHAD in November 2018. In her role as Director, Strategic Initiatives she will take on various special projects aimed at advancing the strategic goals of SHAD.


Kara has nearly a decade worth of experience working in politics and strategy. Most recently, she held the position of Director, Research & Legislative Affairs where she provided strategic direction to a staff team of policy experts.


Kara brings professional experience in research, communications, media relations, the policy cycle and analysis, with a particular emphasis on public and stakeholder relations. She is a politically-astute communicator who offers a successful record in strategic thinking and leadership.


Kara’s communications experience extends to the US, where she worked two Presidential campaigns. This experience honed her interest in the use of big data in campaigns and has transformed the way she thinks about the intersection of technology and politics.


Kara holds a Master of Arts degree from Memorial University as well as a Bachelor of Arts, Honours from the University of Guelph. She is also a recent graduate of Yad Vashem – the International School for Holocaust Studies – course on Anti-Semitism: From its Origins to the Present.


In her spare time, Kara enjoys spending time with her partner Carly and their two furry “children.”  She gives back to her community by mentoring young people from under-represented groups about how to get involved in politics and make a difference in the world around them. 



Leanne O'Donnell

Manager, Program Operations

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Leanne joined SHAD in January 2019. In her role as Manager, Program Operations Leanne is responsible for the implementation and delivery of SHAD’s summer program.


Leanne brings a wealth of operational leadership and management experience to the role as well as a robust knowledge of post-secondary educational institutions. Previous roles have included the Director, Residence at the University of Waterloo, assisting with the set-up of UW Stratford and Manager of Operations for the School of Engineering at Conestoga College. Leanne also brings experience from both the private and non-profit sectors having worked as a Global Learning Facilitator with BlackBerry and later managing operations for SVP Waterloo Region.


Having spent much of her career focused on student life and experiential learning, Leanne is excited to contribute to SHAD and our vision of empowering exceptional youth in order that they may make our world a better place.


In her spare time, Leanne loves experiencing life with her grandkids, completing DIY projects, knitting and spending weekends at the trailer.



Emma Graham

Office & Project Coordinator

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Emma joined SHAD in March 2019. As the Office and Project Coordinator, Emma supports a variety of administrative tasks at SHAD’s National Office as well as strategic initiatives and national programs. Emma is a SHAD UBC alumna as well as a former Program Assistant for Carleton University’s SHAD program.


Prior to working at SHAD, Emma worked as an analyst at an Economics and Research consulting firm in Vancouver. She has also completed internships at the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada.  She has experience in policy analysis, program evaluation, and qualitative research.


Emma completed her Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University in Kingston and Master of Public Policy degree from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.


In her spare time, Emma loves traveling, hiking, and learning new languages.