Board of Directors
Blake Witkin, Chair of the Board of Directors, specializes in the financing, development and commercialization phases of growth start-up companies. He is the Chairman, President and an investor in Unified Computer Intelligence Corporation, and is a Managing Partner and founding Board Director of high-tech start-up, Atra Vision Inc.
Following a degree in Business Administration from Western’s Richard Ivey School of Business, Mr. Witkin became an executive and private investor of Image Processing Systems Inc., a TSX-listed corporation that was ranked #1 in growth by Profit Magazine. When the company merged to become Photon Dynamics Canada Inc., Mr. Witkin was its Vice President.
For over 20 years, Mr. Witkin has taken computer engineering products to market in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Mr. Witkin is also a member, Co-Founder and former Board Director of Maple Leaf Angels.
Mark Lawrence has been Managing Partner of NorthCrest Partners Inc., an Exempt Market Dealer, since September 2003, and is also President of CML Capital Ventures Inc., serving in that role since June 1997. He is currently a Director of Stone Investment Group Limited, a mutual fund company with assets under admin of about $600 million (a non-listed reporting issuer.)
Mr. Lawrence is an active investor in private start-up companies in sectors ranging from financial services software and services, alternative energy, green tech, telecommunications, materials and Internet software.
Since-mid 2012, Mr. Lawrence has also been a member of the Financial Assistance Committee of Angel Investors Ontario. He has been a Founder and Director of a number of TSX Venture listed companies, some through the Capital Pool Program. His previous roles included Founding Director of Soltoro Ltd., a TSX Venture listed company (Mexican silver exploration), Director of Axiotron Corp. (Tablet Computers), Software Growth Inc., and York Ridge LifeTech Inc.
Mr. Lawrence holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Queens University, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Ivey School of Business. He received his designation of P.Eng from the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario and his Chartered Financial Analyst designation from the Association for Investment Management and Research.
Vincent Gasparro has over ten years of private equity experience, completing acquisitions in both the manufacturing and retail sectors. His primary focus has been in investing in clean energy projects, as well as the acquisition of revenue generating environmentally sustainable businesses.
Mr. Gasparro is currently the Managing Director of The Green Tomorrow Fund, partially owned by Lynx Equity. Vincent’s views on the functioning of North American capital markets have been published in the media, as well as academic/business journals.
Prior to Mr. Gasparro’s private sector career, he served as Special Assistant, Ontario to the Prime Minister of Canada as well as Director of Parliamentary Affairs to a Federal Cabinet Minister during the period 2003-2006.
Since December 2015, he has been a Director of Toronto Community Housing. In 2004, Mr. Gasparro co-founded a not-for-profit called Project Engagement, which looks to alleviate poverty in Toronto and the GTA. In 2015, Project Engagement provided food and other household necessities to approximately 450 families. Mr. Gasparro’s efforts did not go unnoticed and, in 2010, he was awarded The Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship.
Parm Gill is a serial entrepreneur with a myriad of start-up experience and has guided the growth and development of numerous start-up companies. As Managing Partner of the Gill Group, he acts as a strategic advisor, mentor, investor, and connector for start-ups. He brings with him the experience and expertise of guiding the growth and development of numerous start-ups, from strategic planning and fundraising to business development and intellectual property development.
Mr. Gill is passionate about entrepreneurship and the ecosystems that make it all happen. Beyond being a member of the Advisory Board for a number of start-ups locally and abroad, Mr. Gill is a an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Invest Ottawa; member of the Board of Advisors of Venture For Canada, a program that provides top young graduates with a Fellowship opportunity to spend two years in the trenches with top Canadian start-ups, with a goal that they become mobilized as entrepreneurs; a Charter Member of the Ottawa chapter of TiE, a global organization fostering entrepreneurship; and a Mentor at Read/Write Labs in San Francisco, the world’s leading IoT Accelerator.
Mr. Gill also contributes his time to a number of not-for-profit organizations and charities, including the Ottawa Network For Education, where he sits on the Fundraising Committee; ArtEngine, as a member of the Board of Directors; HUB Ottawa, as a Community Champion; and the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), as a volunteer for the Annual Summit and on the Membership Committee.
You can find out more about Mr. Gill at LinkedIn.com/in/ParmGill, where he can also be contacted, and on Twitter, using the handle @ParmSGill.
Michael Nobrega retired as the President and CEO of OMERS on March 31, 2014, a position to which he was appointed on March 7, 2007. He also served as OMERS Chief Investment Officer from March 7, 2007 to December 31, 2009. From 1998 to the date of his promotion as OMERS President and CEO, Mr. Nobrega was President and CEO of Borealis Infrastructure, the wholly-owned infrastructure investment entity of OMERS.
Mr. Nobrega holds an Honours BA from the University of Toronto and a chartered accountancy designation from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. He is a former partner of Arthur Andersen, where he practiced tax law in mergers and acquisitions and corporate reorganizations.
In 2012, Mr. Nobrega was appointed Chair of Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE). A champion of leading edge technologies, OCE drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow. Mr. Nobrega is also a Board member of the Global Risk Institute, which was established in 2011 to address issues related to systemic risk in the global financial sector.
Mr. Nobrega is a Fellow of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, which recognizes outstanding career achievements as well as excellence in service to the community and the profession. Mr. Nobrega is also the recipient of the Arbor Award from the University of Toronto for outstanding community service.
David Pamenter is a former Senior Partner in the business law practice of Gowlings’ Toronto office and national leader of the Firm’s Technology Industry Group.
Degrees from Wilfred Laurier University and Osgoode Hall Law School are foundations for Mr. Pamenter’s more than 30 years of experience in technology law, business and commercial law, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance issues, and private corporate finance.
Mr. Pamenter has extensive board experience. He is a Director with the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) and of Angel Investors Ontario, as well as a Director of a number of private companies. He is an Institute-certified director, ICD.D, and a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.
Between practicing law and sitting on boards, Mr. Pamenter also managed to be a founding member of Cleantech North, a group of service providers working collaboratively to mentor Canadian Cleantech companies.
Currently, Mr. Pamenter is the Executive in Residence for Entrepreneurship at University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Ontario's newest university focused on STEM topics. At UOIT, Mr. Pamenter's priority is to build a program to allow students across all faculties to gain exposure to entrepreneurship, and to nurture students and professors who have an entrepreneurial aptitude.
Annette Warring is CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Canada. A change agent and impactful leader, she is driving the company’s vision of ‘innovating the way brands are built’ by the offering of being different and better.
Since her arrival in 2007, Ms. Warring has generated continuous growth and innovation for the business in the Canadian market. She has accelerated the shift from a traditional media offering to now fourteen global network brands working together under one single P&L. Under her tenure, annual agency revenue has grown over 450%, and has successfully won many of Canada’s top advertising accounts, including General Motors, P&G, Loblaw Companies Ltd, Home Depot, The Coca Cola, MasterCard, Microsoft, and Reckitt Benckiser.
Alongside her business acumen, Ms. Warring regularly and proactively uses her influence to drive support for both client-related and community-based charitable and CSR initiatives. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for Fred Victor, and is dedicated to combatting poverty and homelessness in Toronto. Ms. Warring is also a founding Executive Board Member of “Forward Together”, a female leadership growth initiative.