Venture for Canada Announces Members of its 2nd Alumni Council

By Juanita Lee Garcia

Venture for Canada (VFC) is excited to announce the committee members of its 2021 Alumni Council. For its second year of operations, the council has expanded its seats from five members to seven members to serve the growing VFC Fellowship community. 

The VFC Alumni Council is an application-based volunteer advisory body for the Venture for Canada’s Fellowship program. The primary goal of the Alumni Council is to plan and organize VFC’s Alumni Summit, where Fellows from all cohorts can network, share experiences and challenges with young professionals in the startup community. 

VFC’s 2020 Alumni Summit, scheduled for May 2020, was postponed due to Covid-19. Redesigned as a virtual summit in 2021, Alumni will participate in speaking engagements, panel discussions, career development coaching sessions, and venture finding and growth advice. The summit will provide Alumni with a pivotal and timely opportunity to build peer-mentoring relationships, connect with potential co-founders or future colleagues, and support their career acceleration. 

Sam Daviau, who has been a critical member of VFC’s and oversees the Alumni Council comments, “My involvement with VFC has helped me grow as an individual and as a professional and the fellow community forms the backbone of my network.”  He continues, “being on the council allows me to further promote and develop the organization, and helps create a stronger foundation for VFC to continue to positively affect more people’s lives as it’s affected me.” 

“Fellowship Alumni are a key group of stakeholders, not only for VFC but also for the larger startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Canada,” said Juanita Lee-Garcia, Senior Manager Strategic Partnerships and Social Impact at VFC,  and facilitator of Alumni Relations since 2018. “These folks are the next generation of founders and startup leaders, and are continuously looking for opportunities to grow their personal and professional contributions to innovative companies.”

While the Alumni Council creates programs for their community by their community, they also commit to providing VFC with strategic advice. VFC’s 2020 Alumni Council played a critical role in launching initiatives such as VFC’s Alumni Jobs Connection Pilot, where Partner Startups gain added value by having the chance to connect with job-seeking Alumni. 

“The members of the Alumni Council are incredibly driven leaders, entrepreneurs, self-starters and life-long learners,” said VFC’s Founder and CEO, Scott Stirrett. “We are grateful to the inaugural council for their 200+ hours of volunteer time and we’re excited to see the contributions that the council will make into 2021. “

Council members serve for one to three years and are based from Vancouver, British Columbia to Fredericton, New Brunswick. You can learn more about the council members on our website.   

 

About the members of the Council: 

Alex Baccellieri – Events Logistics Director of VFC’s Alumni Council (2018 Fellow, incoming) 

Alexandra is a Senior Business Development Representative at Viafoura. She works with digital media companies to help drive civil engagement, build loyalty within their communities, and drive revenue. Her responsibilities include cold calling, managing the BDR team, and running sales cycles for SMB accounts. Alexandra’s passions revolve around equality, philanthropy, and being involved in the LGBTQ+ community. As such, aside from this role with VFC, she also volunteers at The 519 (a local LGBTQ+ community centre) and as a Content Associate for Venture Out (Toronto’s first LGBTQ+ Tech Conference). In 2018 she graduated from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University and through Venture For Canada found her passion for technology. Outside of work, Alexandra loves to try new restaurants in Toronto.

 

Brendan Coady – Events and Programming Director of VFC’s Alumni Council  (2015 Fellow, incoming)

Brendan is a Venture for Canada Class of 2015 Alumnus and works as a Mechanical Designer at Nymi. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo, and spends his time making hardware look easy. He is an avid blogger, has lived on 3 continents, and takes his coffee very seriously. He is a library advocate, cookbook collector, and unrequited dog lover.

 

Sam Daviau – Alumni Co-Chair, of VFC’s Alumni Council  (2015 Fellow, returning) 

Sam Daviau is currently the VP of Operation at Statflo. In his professional capacity, he leads HR, manages onboarding and delivery for customer engagements and works with Statflo’s various technology alliances, re-sellers, and brand partners to help drive the go to market strategies and roadmap of the company. Sam is also on the Statflo executive team and has been with the company as it has scaled from 5 to 50 people through three rounds of institutional venture funding. A graduate of McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, he is also the Chair of the Alumni Council and a graduate of the Venture For Canada program, a co-founder of the Lay-Up Youth Basketball charity and a board member of the Muskoka Lakes Association. Sam is passionate about positive growth in all its forms, from scaling organizations to fostering environmental stewardship to building resilient communities.

 

Stewart Hillhouse – Community Director of VFC’s Alumni Council  (2017 Fellow, returning) 

Stewart is a marketer, specializing in audience development for brands and people. Every Wednesday he shares actionable insights from top marketers on what it takes to be top of mind in their industry on his podcast, Top Of Mind. He writes about the intersection of marketing and culture.

 

Andrew Kim – General Programming Director of VFC’s Alumni Council (2015 Fellow, incoming) 

Andrew Kim is the Marketing Strategy, Analytics and Planning Lead at Kira Systems, a machine learning, contract analysis software provider. He is responsible for strategic planning, operational excellence, and performance optimization of the marketing team. Andrew is a graduate of Queen’s University, where he majored in Commerce. When Andrew is not in the office, you can find him on his next travel adventure, spending time with friends and family, or playing soccer.

 

Annika Lui – Marketing and Communications Director of VFC’s Alumni Council (2018 Fellow, incoming) 

Labs Director at the League of Innovators. Annika lives on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam people, where she is passionate about creating a future built by youth. When you don’t see her meticulously planning her next adventure (she’s been to 43 countries and counting!), sipping a flat white in a coffee shop or wandering art galleries, you will find her somewhere in the startup community. With a background in multicultural marketing and advertising, startup operations, street festival planning and omni-channel retail, Annika’s lens informs her professional endeavors. Currently, Annika serves as the Labs Director at the League of Innovators. The League of Innovators is a national Canadian charity supporting young entrepreneurs through a suite of accessible programs from discovery to acceleration. Labs is a 12-week sector-agnostic virtual accelerator program empowering youth-led startups across Canada through workshops, AMAs, online resources, a peer community and mentorship. Graduated from the Ivey Business School with a dual degree in Business Administration and Global Culture Studies, she’s a nerd for the intersection of business and sustainable development.

 

Micha Saade –  Entrepreneurship Director (2017 Fellow, returning) 

Michelle (Micha) Saade is the co-founder of Namastetics, a yoga life-style apparel e-commerce brand. Micha has 10 years of experience in sales, marketing, strategic business development and entrepreneurship. While for Toronto based startups as a Brand Content Marketer at Careguide and strategic business development at Fiix she took her business from a side-hustle venture to an internationally brand that ships world-wide.