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.
David Brown practises in the areas of Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Finance at WeirFoulds LLP. He has been named by Best Lawyers® as one of the best lawyers in Canada in the practice area of Corporate Law. He handles all manner of M&A, Private Equity and Debt transactions with an emphasis on: private company sales and divestitures; middle-market company mergers and acquisitions; and the Canadian component of institutional fund purchases and divestitures.
David has also developed an active international practice representing finance firms in New York, Chicago, Frankfurt and London. David has spoken extensively on the topics of Mergers and Acquisitions transactions and Private Equity investments. He also possesses an admiration for venture stage entrepreneurs and takes on a select number of venture stage engagements each year, providing structuring advice, mentoring and financing contacts to worthy emerging companies.
David sits on the board and is an officer of a number of public, private and charitable endeavours.
Paul Chipperton is an award-winning serial entrepreneur in the Tech industries with a proven track record of start-up successes, most notably as 2008 Co-Founder & CEO of Profound Medical Inc., a prostate cancer medical device company. As CEO, he raised over $16M of Venture Capital financing and the firm subsequently went public on the TSX Venture exchange (TSXv:prn) in 2015. Under his leadership, the company also received the prestigious Ontario Premier’s Catalyst Award for “best start-up” in Ontario.
A 20+-year veteran of entrepreneurial financing, he has raised capital at almost every stage of a company’s growth cycle, from recent crowd-funding and “friends & family” rounds in the tens of thousands, all the way through to Canada’s largest Medtech Series-A VC syndicate for C$10.3M in 2011. Paul also serves as an independent strategic reviewer to the Canadian Federal Government's Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF).
He is a board member and/or advisor to several private companies, including Intronix Technologies and Viryl Technologies. He is a part-time lecturer and author of multiple innovation, entrepreneurship and marketing courses at Queen’s, McMaster and Ryerson Universities.
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 the Chair of the Board of Directors 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 and Board Member of the Ottawa chapter of TiE Global, a global organization fostering entrepreneurship; and Chair of the Finance Assistance Committee at Angel Investors Ontario.
Mr. Gill also contributes his time to a number of not-for-profit organizations and charities, including 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.
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.