Author Archives: Katie LeClair

Jul 16, 2021

6 mins | 1156 words

Audrey Bond wants to keep you connected to your loved ones.

Years ago, Audrey was struck by the challenges of sharing vital documents for her daughter with her ex-husband; an issue she would face again during the pandemic, while trying to get critical information to the healthcare professionals tending to her ageing parents.

Today, as the founder and CEO of information management system and communication platform, Vaultt, Audrey is making sure other families don’t have to go through what she did: empowering them with a quick, easy and secure way to share important information critical to ensuring quality of care for their loved ones. 

Through this pandemic, her solution has proven more valuable than ever. But it’s Audrey’s human-centred approach — with user’s privacy, security and accessibility at the forefront — that has landed her partnerships with two industry giants, in just two years since launching her business. 


While COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of information management technologies, Audrey believes there’s no going back. She explained how “Families have always needed this solution, but the pandemic has made it essential.”

Audrey pulled from her own experiences as a single mom when building her company. “Women have been leading information management for a long time, but the company has been the family.” She said, “I was the primary caregiver and I was frustrated that there was no secure location to organize this information. Everything was really, really fragmented.”

In 2019, she brought her vision to life, describing how although they “did a few quick pivots in 2020, Vaultt is still the same platform we started out with. We just added a few new features and enhanced others.” 

Among these enhancements was a foray into healthcare, propelled by the growing impact of the pandemic. “We launched mid-summer of 2020, and before we knew it we were deep into the pandemic. People suddenly weren’t able to be there in-person for their families, to share vital information in the ER, at urgent care, with physicians.” 

Partnering with a global giant

Over the last two years, Audrey successfully evolved her model, finding product-market-fit, growing her team, and landing an enviable partnership with the world’s largest private pharmaceutical company. “I’m so thankful to have this partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim,” said Audrey, explaining that the company’s “mission is so aligned with ours.”

On Boehringer Ingelheim’s website, they express their commitment to “improving the health and quality of life of humans,” while their Ethics & Compliance section describes how they “prioritize the establishment and maintenance of public trust. Transparency is, therefore, a key pillar of our corporate culture, as well as a vital principle in healthcare compliance.”

Trust your gut

Ironically, Audrey had been advised against the very transparency that, in the end, appealed to Boehringer Ingelheim. “I was getting a lot of advice when we started out. Because of the data clients would be inputting to Vaultt, I was urged to mine and monetize it.” Explained Audrey. “But it didn’t feel right. And I’m so grateful that I held strong to my beliefs.” 

By prioritizing her platform’s security and the privacy of its users, Audrey secured Vaultt’s future as a viable solution for the healthcare industry, where protecting patient data is of the utmost importance. As she said, “I refused to give up on building a product with end-to-end encryption. At the end of the day, my number one priority was, and still is, protecting our user’s data and privacy.”

Her advice to founders who are starting out? “Trust your gut. People will give you polar opposite pieces of advice for almost everything. But your gut will guide you in the right direction.” 

Making a difference back home

Just this month, Audrey’s team launched their new feature for Boehringer Ingelheim, onboarding 3,000 of their patients. “Partnering with Boehringer Ingelheim was a massive opportunity,” she said, “they’re our first large customer. The feature they wanted to build, and so generously share with everybody on the Vaultt platform, is transformative, and timely.” 

Back home in Ottawa, the impact of her work hasn’t gone unnoticed. “The value of this technology was recognized by The Ottawa Hospital as well.” Vaultt plans to integrate their solution with the hospital’s electronic health record system, staying true to their mission of supporting families. 

“If your loved one is in the hospital, and you can’t be there because of distance, or COVID-19 regulations,” said Audrey, “you can still have peace of mind, knowing that the vital information needed to take care of them is accessible and shareable at the touch of a button.”

Founders helping founders

Audrey is committed to lifting others up, whether they work with her or not. Right now, that looks like mentoring fellow women founders, who, in 2020, have seen their funding drop to 2.3%

“I recently spoke with a founder from Toronto,” said Audrey, “who reached out because she had questions about end-to-end encryption, which is a core element of Vaultt’s offering. “I was happy to share some advice with her about my journey, lessons learned, where I went wrong, and, of course where I went right.” 

This kind of supportive community-building is critical for entrepreneurs — who often start and spend years building their business solo — to succeed. As Audrey said, “It’s hard to truly understand the challenges founders face if you’re not in the arena.” This is one of the reasons why when Audrey discovered Invest Ottawa’s IO Ignition program (formerly known as the IO Pre Accelerator Program), she was quick to apply. And then when the team at SheBoot (an Ottawa-based 6-week bootcamp that prepares founders to pitch their business and secure investment) approached her to join their inaugural cohort, she was thrilled. 

“There’s so much value in founders helping founders.” Audrey explained, “Our challenges are different from those starting a regular business. So when you meet a fellow tech startup founder, they can quickly become your friend and ally. They’ve been through many of the highs and lows and challenges you’ve been through.”

Securing investment is among the greatest challenges startup founders face. As Audrey said, “There’s something to be said about being surrounded by people whose mission it is to help you raise money. Any support that we can get is huge, but the experience in SheBoot was incredible. I can’t put to words how much programming like this is needed, and how valuable it is for any business.” 

It takes a village

Other than a certain caffeinated beverage (“I’m unofficially sponsored by coffee,” she quipped), Audrey credits her rapid momentum to her team, people who are as passionate about her mission and values as she is. 

“I am surrounded by some really awesome people.” She explained. “Vaultt wouldn’t be where it is today without our small but mighty startup team, and their passion for what we’re building.” 

The impact-driven crew supporting Vaultt also includes a host of partners, advisors and investors. As Audrey said, “It was hard, at the very beginning, when it was just me and my dream. I held on so tightly to it. I believe that was what attracted the right people to my team. When I look back, at where I started, and where I am today, I feel like I’ve done a good job. And I take pride in that.”

This article is a part of the SheBoot spotlight series. To read other stories that highlight women founders building exciting tech and tech-enabled startups, click here.

Invest Ottawa has a holistic tech portfolio, meaning our services and programs (including IO Ignition and SheBoot!) help businesses by shortening their growth path. To learn more about how we do this, visit Venture Path Programs | Invest Ottawa.

Jul 8, 2021

6 mins | 1156 words

Cassie Myers is committed to making economic empowerment accessible to all. 

Over the years this passion has seen her bridge data, education and tech to mentor young women at hackathons, augment organizational impact in gender justice and equality, and, today, advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace as the Founder and CEO of Lunaria.

Through Lunaria’s analytics and education platform, Cassie helps business leaders get a clearer picture of where they are, where they could use some help, and what they need to do to move the dial on DEI at work.

It started with a survey

In 2017, Cassie was helping mission-driven nonprofits measure the impact of their work on gender justice and equality through a survey tool (that would eventually become Lunaria).

She was struck by how effectively these audits inspired change in her clients. “As a client,” Cassie said, “I can see that, okay, after I did this, I know that something happened. You have the information you need to make your next informed step. With our tool, we try to help people receive value while maintaining honesty and transparency as an organisation. This is key for DEI to flourish.” 

It didn’t matter if these leaders thought they were doing a good job — the data served as a reality check, shining a light on who they were actually serving and where they were falling behind. In 2020, Lunaria expanded their offering with turnkey education units that gave clients greater accountability, insight and support. 

To maximize impact, Cassie made sure these units were custom fit to meet each client’s unique needs. As she said, “Our library isn’t a free-for-all. We use results from each client — be it from their survey audits or education units — to collect the necessary data to understand where the gaps are, what people are interested in learning about, and, from there, suggest the appropriate education unit to be implemented next.” 

An intersectional approach

With an eye to making inclusive workspaces for all, Cassie knew Lunaria had to take an intersectional approach, where “race, class, gender, and other individual characteristics “intersect” with one another and overlap.” 

“We want to encourage our clients to focus on topics that are responsive to their audit, and that are responsive to what’s happening in the world.” Cassie explained. “There are a multitude of perspectives, experiences and identities that make us all unique. And those intersections reveal just how big this kind of work is, and how long this journey is. We want to help people respond not only to their own realities but those of others who might not have the same identity or experiences that they do.” 

We’ve been here before

The global pandemic has heightened racial injustice and other social inequities, inspiring a new crop of grassroots leaders to use their expertise to support historically marginalized groups through the formalized practice of DEI, impacting organisations across industries and sectors

But this work isn’t new. Most scholars trace its roots back to the women’s and civil rights movements that defined the 1960s and ‘70s and North America, propelling a new field in workplace training

Cassie sees Lunaria as a complementary solution that augments the legacy work of DEI specialists. “We do not operate under the assumption that we offer everything an organisation needs to fulfill a meaningful DEI mandate,” she said, “this work is dynamic and expansive and it should be threaded into every single part of your business.”

“That’s why we collaborate with DEI practitioners and service providers who use our platform to supplement their work. With us, they’re able to measure the impact of their practice, and offer just-in-time education that complements their offering.” said Cassie.

In great company

Cassie’s good work hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2020, she was featured in the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business as one of their Top 50 Changemakers. On seeing her work celebrated, Cassie’s excitement was fixed on being represented with such a diverse group of leaders. 

As Cassie said, “It showed the diversity of justice work happening around Canada. How many changemakers from different life stages, backgrounds and areas of expertise are working to make a difference. Being alongside people doing different, interesting and impactful work validated what I’m doing with and outside of Lunaria. I’m in great company.”

Filling in the gaps

In order to become the leading DEI education and analytics solution for mission-driven organizations, Cassie knew her team would need some help navigating the world of investment.  That’s where SheBoot, an Ottawa-based 6-week bootcamp that prepares founders to pitch their business and secure investment, came in. 

As Cassie said, “The world of investment was very new to us. But this doesn’t only impact women founders, it also impacts other underrepresented founders whether they’re Black, Indigenous and other racialized folks, or people in the 2SLGBTQ+ community. That’s the biggest gap: who we are and who we need to be connected to in order to be successful.”

Cassie commended the program’s hands-on support for guiding her and fellow founders through the process of securing investment “We gained a shadow board of people who are either working in our space or are investors themselves,” said Cassie, “and we got to pitch to Capital Angel Network [a group of angel investors in the Ottawa-Gatineau region] at SheBoot’s pitchfest and won fan favourite. The interest from the community at Invest Ottawa, to make these connections and offer these explanations to fill in the gaps — other programs don’t do this.”

From solopreneur to team leader

Though Cassie now works with a team of four, she started out as a solopreneur. For entrepreneurs starting out on their own, this is her advice: “There will be situations where you won’t have a group of people to bounce ideas off of. So you need to be decisive and confident in your choices.”

“Now that I have a team, this is more important than ever. Because when you have people working on different projects under your leadership, you become a source of truth that needs to be ready whenever you’re called upon.” Said Cassie. 

“We’re excited to grow, and I am not going to be a bottleneck for someone else’s success. I try to be really intentional and do the self-work needed to be a good founder, to be the person that can lead my company to success. When you’re able to trust yourself, you can accept people for who they are, and benefit from their enthusiasm.”

Learn more

Lunaria has an active DEI blog channel. Recently Cassie wrote an article on the why, what, and how of colorism in the workplace:

Are you ready to launch your organization’s DEI journey? Then Lunaria’s 8-week program is for you. Learn more here.

Connect with Cassie on LinkedIn here.

This article is a part of the SheBoot spotlight series. To read other stories that highlight women founders building exciting tech and tech-enabled startups, click here.

Invest Ottawa has a holistic tech portfolio, meaning our services and programs (including SheBoot!) help businesses by shortening their growth path. To learn more about how we do this, visit Venture Path Programs | Invest Ottawa.

Jun 24, 2021

Shannon Ferguson will have her voice heard. 

When she began playing hockey as a child, she was one of just two girls on her team — a theme that followed into her professional career in sports marketing. From these experiences Shannon developed a gritty, competitive spirit that would guide her impressive journey as an entrepreneur.

Today, she’s the Co-Founder & CEO of FanSaves, a rapidly growing sports tech startup that supports more than 40 organizations and 500 brands on their platform. Through FanSaves, sponsors broaden the reach of their activation opportunities with fans so they can engage with them outside of venues and in real-time, by offering discounts and deals.

As her professional success grows, so does Shannon’s commitment to supporting women startup founders on their journey. 

* * *

Before FanSaves, Shannon and her partner, Co-founder Kris McCarthy managed the sales and marketing for two minor professional hockey teams. While selling sponsorship, they both noticed a trend: business owners wanted more out of their dollars. As Shannon said, sponsors “didn’t just want the traditional inventory we were offering, like rink boards, scoreboard ads and wall signs. They wanted something digital that would bring people into their stores while tracking customer demographics and their return-on-investment.”

With a lack of digital assets afforded to sponsors, Shannon and Kris saw that there was a gap in the market — so they decided to fix it by building an app. Although both of them had experience in sponsorship, sports marketing and entrepreneurship, neither came from a technical background. But that wasn’t going to stop them. 

In Shannon’s words, “We grew up playing hockey, so we’re really competitive. We rise to the challenge. So when we recognized that gap, it was a no-brainer, like ‘of course we should do this.’” 

One step at a time

Shannon and Kris got to work building FanSaves in 2017. It didn’t take long for their business to take off and today they are partnered with more than 40 organizations and 500 brands across North America. FanSaves is growing fast: hiring new talent, and, in May, opening their seed round.

When asked how she keeps this momentum going, Shannon breaks down her process into digestible pieces that are handled one at a time. “When we look back, we didn’t say that we were going to accomplish all of this,” she said, “but as we got validation from bigger teams and industry leaders, we would focus on getting to that next phase, and tackling whatever was in our way.” 

Her advice for entrepreneurs-to-be? “Just start. Your idea will evolve, it will change. But you have to plant a seed in order for it to grow.”

It’s this can-do attitude that helped Shannon explore a new vertical for FanSaves in 2019. “We realized that we could work with Chambers of Commerce and digitalize their member-to-member discount programs.” That’s when they began working with Chambers and  Boards of Trade while adding BIAs, tourism groups, universities, colleges and media into the mix; anything that relied on sponsorship.

Growing into multiple vertices was so successful that it now serves as one of FanSaves’ main revenue sources, and has been an anchor through this pandemic where local sports teams have been unable to play or host fans at their games.  

Growing pains — and gains

Over the years, Shannon has gained ground as a successful woman entrepreneur in an industry dominated by men. But she’s the first to admit that she wasn’t always in tune with the barriers women face. “I was in survival mode. I was focused on being strong and having my voice heard.” she said. 

By virtue of having a man as her co-founder, Shannon noticed how gender bias impacted how people talked to her, versus Kris, about critical business issues like investment. As Shannon said, “Kris and I use the same pitch deck. But he is still more likely to be asked questions about FanSaves’ potential for gains than I am.” 

For women founders, her experience is all too common: in 2017, the Harvard Business Review published findings from a study that found that both men and women VCs tend to ask men founders questions about the potential for gains, and women founders about the potential for losses; biases that, from the get-go, present women as a liability, and men as an asset. 

As conversations around gender bias enter the mainstream, Shannon believes things are moving in the right direction for women founders — as long as they keep speaking up. “We can’t just ask investors and VCs to change their mindset if, as women, we’re not also changing our own biases about each other, and women in business. I will continue to rise up and celebrate the women in my life. By coming together as one voice we will be heard.”

Community, confidence and connections

Through SheBoot, an Ottawa-based 6-week bootcamp that prepares founders to pitch their business and secure investment, Shannon finally found a community of women with whom she could share these challenges. 

“I’m so often amongst men. There are plenty of women business owners who are rock stars, but they’re not startup founders. We’re a niche group that faces unique obstacles. Through SheBoot we get to help each other succeed.” said Shannon. “The impact goes beyond the program. I gained a community, confidence, and connections to people that will help our business grow.”

As for whether the program is helping her secure investment for FanSaves, Shannon has this to say: “SheBoot has given me so much confidence, especially with FanSaves’ current seed round. And I haven’t stopped learning. There are monthly newsletters and the people in it have offered introductions to people I wouldn’t have spoken with otherwise. There needs to be more programs like this.”

Here’s how Shannon overcomes adversity 

With an eye to seeing FanSaves revolutionize the world of sponsorship, Shannon offers advice for others facing challenges bringing their dreams to life. “Especially in this pandemic, especially as a founder, sometimes it can feel like things are never going to get better and that you’re never going to have that breakthrough,” she said. 

“Just keep moving forward, even if it’s a small step each day. We’re all so hard on ourselves. Don’t give up. Even if you can only do one or two small tasks today, do them because tomorrow you might be strong enough to do more.”

To learn more about FanSaves, visit

This article is a part of the SheBoot spotlight series. To read other stories that highlight women founders building exciting tech and tech-enabled startups, click here.

Invest Ottawa has a holistic tech portfolio, meaning our services and programs (including SheBoot!) help businesses by shortening their growth path. To learn more about how we do this, visit Venture Path Programs | Invest Ottawa.

Jun 11, 2021

6 mins | 1173 words

Just over a decade ago, senior-level lawyer Julie MacDonell ran her own boutique firm. Her long list of clients included small businesses she serviced in her specialty: Trademark and Intellectual Property (IP) Law. It was this work that inspired Julie to leave her boutique behind.

The Challenge

Every day small businesses are dealing with cease-and-desist orders or infringement issues. Unaware of the importance of registering a trademark or unable to afford the services required to do so, their brands and businesses are left vulnerable. Julie knows just how devastating this can be.

“It’s incredibly difficult to have a small business owner literally crying tears on the phone with you because they just lost their brand or their business overnight,” said Julie during a recent interview with Techcrunch’s Darrell Etherington, “there’s an enormous, insurmountable barrier when it comes to brand protection for those owners.” She explained that she saw countless clients come to her over the years after neglecting to register their trademarks. Therefore, they didn’t own them (did you know that you don’t legally own your domain until you’ve registered the corresponding trademark?). That meant the law just wasn’t on their side.

Now, Julie is on a mission to make trademarking accessible so that no other business owner finds themselves in this situation.

Lawyer Turned Tech Entrepreneur

In October 2019, Julie, along with her co-founders Sarah Ruest and Dave MacDonell, started Heirlume, a company that combines the latest technology with extensive legal knowledge to offer an exceptional trademark service clients can rely on. Providing easy access to brand protection, Heirlume is simultaneously disrupting both the trademark and legal industry.

This Canadian startup is growing and fast, with part of the reason being access to communities and resources.

Heirlume has been a part of North America’s most impact-focused programs committed to supporting women-led technology companies, including the Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders and SheBoot. On an episode of the App Show with Mike Agerbo, Julie spoke to the role of programs like this and how important they are. Her reasoning was twofold: women need access to other women in tech and entrepreneurship as experts and mentors, and women need access to money.

Julie often jokes that Heirlume is a unicorn tech business. She doesn’t mean this in the traditional sense – that the startup has had explosive revenue growth – but in the sense that the company’s CEO and CTO (and co-founders) are both women. This makes Heirlume a unicorn because it’s so rare.

This unicorn has been gaining traction. Recent news about the startup has garnered a lot of attention.

A Gut Instinct

In December 2020, Heirlume had an opportunity to move forward with a traditional VC fund, but a collective gut instinct told the leadership team to hold off.

They did – because they could.

This offer came to them just months after the startup completed the SheBoot program (a six-week investment-ready bootcamp) and won the top price of $150,000 investment.

Julie emphasized that without this $100,000 investment from the ten women angel investors through the Capital Angel Network and the $50,000 in non-diluted funding from the Canadian Government through FedDev Ontario, holding off on accepting an offer would never have been possible.

“The SheBoot investment and FedDev funding we received through the program put us in a position where we could spend extra time choosing our investment partners.” She went on to say, “If we hadn’t had that influx of money, we would have been in a situation with no choice but to take the first investor in. It allowed us the time and space to be selective with who and how we partnered.”

And selective they were.

On April 28, 2021, Heirlume announced the close of its $1.7 million seed round. What’s most compelling about this announcement is the participants’ list, including Backbone Angels, Future Capital, Angels of Many, MaRS IAF, and other angel investors. This list is impressive for more reasons than one: 65% of the investors on Heirlume’s cap table identify as women or underrepresented investors. In a society where only 2.3 percent of investment dollars went to female-only founders in 2020, and only 15.2 percent of partners at Canadian venture firms were women in 2018, this seems impossible. But Heirlume built their business with intention; raising capital was no different.

The timing helped too.

The Backbone Angels launched earlier this year with a clear mission: to elevate the economic position of women and non-binary founders. The new collective of 10 women angel investors looks for scalable companies poised for high growth.

Erin Zipes, Vice President, Assistant General Counsel at Shopify and Founding Partner of Backbone Angels, is also a SheBoot investor and mentor. Through the program, she met the exciting startup’s co-founders.

While Erin approached Julie about the possibility of Heirlume joining the Backbone Angels’ portfolio, Future Capital, an organization “reimagining the way startups are funded by developing a new, more diverse cohort of investors,” was looking for their initial investment as well. For both firms, Heirlume was it.

When these initial investors came forward, for Julie and her team, the vision for this round became clear: to empower diverse investors.

A Call for All

“Truthfully, the whole round ties back to SheBoot.” – Julie MacDonell

Julie stated that Heirlume’s entire seed round tied back to SheBoot and emphasized how vital it is to have programs like it available for women founders.

When asked what she would say to women considering “diving both feet first” into entrepreneurship, Julie quickly recognized that most women aren’t afforded the opportunity or circumstance to build a business.

“It’s tricky for me when I answer questions around encouraging women to get into this because I think women generally have extraordinarily complex situations. Startup life and life in the tech ecosystem is very, very tough. We were lucky to get a seed round, and it’s rare for women still. It was a privilege that I was able to do it.”

Julie’s perspective is that more infrastructure design to propel women in business and entrepreneurship needs to exist.

She went on to share, “I have tremendous support from my partner, and Sarah is a tremendous co-founder as well. My kids were older [when I launched Heirlume]. Financially, I had a backend support system, and I am a lawyer coming from a professional background. I had, and have, a lot of privilege.”

How, in her role as CEO at Heirlume, Julie’s looking for ways to have a greater impact through their startup.

“I’m starting to connect with Six Nations in my community. We’re seeing how we might be able to lend our privilege to support other women entrepreneurs. Indigenous women, in particular, can’t access capital.”

A long-time advocate/activist in civil liberties, human rights, children’s rights, and Indigenous rights, Julie calls all who can to talk about what needs to change and do something about it.

To learn more about Heirlume, visit Heirlume – Online Trademark Registration (

On June 10, 2021, the Capital Angel Network and Invest Ottawa, in a press release, announced SheBoot Investment for Women Founders Jumps to $300,000 in the Face of Pandemic! To learn more about the program, visit SheBoot | Bootcamp for Women-led Businesses.

Mar 30, 2021

2 mins | 450 words
By: Avah Taylor

Avah Taylor headshotCreating or finding an environment that’s conducive to your growth and sets you up for success is hard. And, so is developing good habits and implementing effective practices, especially when you’re on your own.

What’s the best solution? We suggest turning to the experts.

That’s why, to wrap up our Black History Month blog series, Invest Ottawa is highlighting two Black entrepreneurs changing the face of the professional services industry. 

Eric McRae

After noticing that Ottawa needed a community space for creative professionals, Eric McRae decided to open My Byward Office, located in the iconic Byward Market.

Established in 2014 and designed by Eric himself, the co-working space offers modern open-concept workspaces, meeting rooms, private offices, and event spaces where companies and entrepreneurs can get work done and promote creativity.

Earlier in his career, Eric built and designed service desks and service operations for large companies. He is an expert in work habits, workspaces, function and space design. His spaces incorporate woods, metal, glass and fabrics in a way that allows people to feel comfortable and productive.

“I created My Byward Office to be a series of beautiful spaces where creative people can come to work smarter and succeed faster,” said the founder and CEO. “I believe the right space can inspire growth, collaboration and foster some of the most amazing creative ideas.

Eric is also a coach and mentor for startup entrepreneurs, who has helped to develop over 40 businesses. With over 16 years of experience in both the public and private sectors, he specializes in guiding startups from concept to reality.

Jesmine Onyeukwu

Jesmine Onyeukwu is a certified productivity, performance and leadership coach recognized as a thought leader in the industry.

Her companies, JessyIsCharm and The Organizing Academy, provide organizing and productivity solutions for business leaders, teams, and organizations using The Life Harmony System – the world’s first sustainable and peak performance program.

She created the program which helps clients to improve their performance by up to 45 percent and better manage their resources to find a healthy work-life balance. 

Through her Life Harmony frameworks, Jesmine educates business leaders on how to avoid burnout and achieve sustainable success. A highly sought-after business strategist, she has personally coached and trained executives from around the world while her work has received internal media coverage. 

She holds a BSc in Economics with a minor in Education and has authored two books titled Organizing Business Guide and The Organizing Commandments.

The mom-of-three believes you can “have it all” if you prioritize effectively. She says her mission is to change the world one organized person at a time.

This article is the fourth in a special Black History Month series by Invest Ottawa.

Digital Main Street, learn more.

To learn more about the Digital Main Street program and how businesses can apply, visit our webpage.

A special thank you to the Government of Canada and specifically FedDev Ontario for making this program possible and enabling the team at Invest Ottawa to provide critical support to main street businesses when it is needed most.

Mar 26, 2021
2 mins | 433 words
By: David Rodas-Wright

David Rodas Wright HeadshotOnce the stuff of science fiction, artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly revolutionizing our day-to-day lives. From self-driving cars to virtual assistants and global supply chains, AI applied to a real-world environment is propelling innovation globally and Ottawa is at the centre of it. 

Our city’s deep expertise in innovation has a proud legacy and that now includes being a world leader in applied AI. While much important work continues in fundamental research, AI solutions developed here in Ottawa are driving progress across a multitude of industries.  

Homegrown global commerce leader Shopify is incorporating AI enhancements into its new network of fulfillment centres and global supply chain tech innovator Kinaxis is building out expertise locally while bringing new talent on board from the acquisition of Torontobased leader Rubikloud which specializes in intelligent decision making automation.  

Other local innovators like & Auditmap are blazing new trails, including inking a licensing agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank and Lixar Fuelled by BDO is an Ottawa powerhouse in AI and data analytics, now with a footprint in multiple Canadian cities. 

All of this leads us to an exciting partnership Invest Ottawa has just announced with the UK’s InspiredMinds! – the company behind the World Summit AI Global Series. 

This year we are supporting their upcoming AI Americas Summit, Online Global Meet-up! From April 19th to 21st, AI professionals and leaders are invited to experience world-class content and engagements through the AI Omnichannel, featuring highly focused and curated peer group discussions, masterclasses and 121 meetings. 

And with Ottawa’s ever-increasing AI expertise it is no surprise our own experts and leaders will be sharing the spotlight with others from across North America: 

Invest Ottawa, together with InspiredMinds! are looking forward to bringing Ottawa to the Americas, and the Americas to Ottawa with this first-class event and networking opportunity.  

Want to attendSend me an email and I’ll send you a special Invest Ottawa promo code for a FREE ticket. I’m also happy to provide you with more information about Ottawa’s world-class applied AI ecosystem! 

David Rodas-Wright 

[email protected] 

Posted in Blog, Invest Ottawa
Mar 25, 2021

Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards want to acknowledge and condemn the continued prevalence of appalling Anti-Asian harassment, racism, and violence since the onset of the pandemic in Ottawa, across Canada and around the world.

Over the last 12 months, our region has experienced a rise in anti-Asian racism including physical attacks, intimidation and verbal threats. Racism targeting our Asian community precedes COVID-19 but it has increasingly surfaced due to the linking of China and the novel coronavirus.

Ottawa isn’t the only Canadian city experiencing a dramatic increase in anti-Asian racism. Data shows that Canada has a higher incident rate per capita than the US. Much of the violence has targeted Asian women, further intensifying the devastating impact of the pandemic. Women, particularly those from priority equity groups including racialized communities, have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and the subsequent economic crisis.

We at Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards are grateful for the amazing and vital contributions our Asian community members make to the prosperity and well-being of our city, economy, and society every day.

As an organization that serves and amplifies the voice of entrepreneurs and firms, we are vocalizing our support for local Asian businesses and community members who are navigating these very real dangers. We stand with all members of our Asian heritage communities and encourage those across our ecosystem to:

  • Patronize local businesses, particularly Asian-owned and operated enterprises including those operated by women, in Chinatown and beyond;
  • Check-in on Asian colleagues and community members who are experiencing fear and injustice, and ensure they are acquiring the support and acknowledgement they need; and
  • Inform and equip yourself to interrupt racism, sexism, and harassment in all its forms when you see it in action.

Learn more about what to do when you witness racist behaviour here.

Learn about what your organization can do to include Asian-Canadians in your anti-racism work here.

We call on our collective courage to interrupt and combat all forms of violence and oppression. We are stronger when we are informed and equipped to take collective action against racism and harmful actions that target and impact our Asian-Canadian friends, neighbours and community members.

Learn more about our commitments to become a better ally. We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with our community as we translate our commitments into on-going action.