23 Vancouver tech and business power players to know

Meet the people with power and influence who are using their positions to make a positive impact.

"Technology is no longer a sector—it's every sector." That’s Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem speaking virtually to multiple chambers of commerce last month.

His comments speak to the importance of a sector responsible for enabling remote work, leading the fight against COVID-19, powering telehealth, keeping the world connected and driving Canada’s economic recovery. Indeed, as I’ve written previously, over the past year, many of the most creative solutions to our national and global problems came from Canada’s technology industry and businesses.

Here in Vancouver where so many people contribute to the growth and success of the innovation economy, it’s difficult to give any single person credit. Fortunately, no one’s asked me to do that.

Instead, I”m taking it upon myself to highlight a group of people who deserve at least some credit—for being ambassadors, leaders and advocates. More than anything, they’re people with power and influence who are using their positions to make a positive impact.

This list started out as a Twitter thread. To read it on Twitter, just click the tweet below. To read the list as an article, just continue on after the tweet.

In no particular order, the Vancouver tech and business power players you need to know.

  1. Veronique Lecault, Chief Operating Officer at Abcellera. Her firm developed a COVID-19 treatment, raised $555.5M in an IPO and is currently hiring for 70 jobs.

  2. Kirsten Sutton, Chief Technology & Innovation Officer at Vancity. She joined B.C.’s largest credit union to oversee all of Vancity’s technology operations and drive the organization’s digital strategy linking technology, members and community.

  3. Denise Williams, CEO at First Nations Technology Council. She’s driving change and progress at the intersection of Indigenous sovereignty, technological advancement and a rapidly expanding technology and innovation economy.

  4. Nerissa Allen, Owner & Director at Chattelhouse Health & Beauty Inc. and President at Black Business Association of BC. The BBABC is providing Black entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to achieve entrepreneurial success.

  5. Brenda Bailey, MLA for Vancouver-False Creek and Parliamentary Secretary for Technology and Innovation at the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. She’s the former executive director of DigiBC.

  6. Jeanne-Marie Owens, VP of Operations at Phoenix Labs. Her gaming company is currently on a tear with 140 developers and counting, and new offices recently launched in LA and Montreal.

  7. Dr. Annett Rozek, Chief Science Officer at Terramera. She helps lead the 2019 life sciences company of the year with plans for a $730M Centre for Regenerative Agriculture.

  8. Jeanette Jackson, Chief Executive Officer at Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre. As the world continues to come to grips with a climate crisis, the support Jackson and co. provide to B.C.’s thriving cleantech sector is becoming more important than ever.

  9. Eleena Marley, Acting Chief Executive Officer at Vancouver Economic Commission. They’ve just announced an extensive esports strategy and Economic Transformation Lab with SFU Beedie.

  10. Kim Kaplan, a former executive at POF and Founder/CEO at Snack. Her new company just launched with $3.5M in funding and is set to transform the online dating space.

  11. Stephanie Hollingshead, Chief Executive officer of HR Tech Group. She and her team recently launched an inaugural diversity in tech dashboard survey and a national Tech Talent Conference.

  12. Christy Wyatt, Chief Executive Officer at Absolute Software. Her company’s stock is up 90% over the past year. It’s no wonder Globe & Mail named her New CEO of the Year.

  13. Sue Paish, CEO at Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster. Led by Paish, the Supercluster has brought together 800+ members to power the digital transformation of Canada’s economy and enhance Canada’ s global leadership in digital innovation.

  14. Jill Tipping, CEO of BC Tech Association. Tipping and her team are dedicated to making British Columbia the best place to grow and scale a tech company. How is she doing? The evidence speaks for itself: 10,900 companies, 194,000 jobs, and 17.4 billion in domestic GDP.

  15. Bridgitte Anderson, President and CEO of Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. She’s successfully led a team navigate through the impacts of the pandemic and pivot to ensure their work reaches and supports more members.

  16. Dr. Elicia Maine, Special Advisor on Innovation to the Vice-President Research at SFU. Since she’s also a member of Innovate BC’s Board of Directors, her impact on the local tech and innovation ecosystem cannot be overstated.

  17. Angie Schick, Executive Director at New Ventures BC. She runs B.C.’s largest startup competition — and arguably most impactful: participating companies have raised $850M+ and created 8,630+ jobs. Most importantly, 80% of them still exist!

  18. Wendy Hurlburt, president and CEO at LifeSciences BC. LSBC is helping to drive growth in a sector that’s extremely critical to both B.C.’s economy and the health of its residents.

  19. Jill Earthy, Chief Executive Officer at Women’s Enterprise Centre. An accomplished entrepreneur who has successfully built and sold two companies, Earthy is the perfect person to be guiding an organization with a mission to empower women entrepreneurs to make an impact in the world.

  20. Paulina Cameron, Chief Executive Officer of Forum or Women Entrepreneurs. An accomplished author, Cameron leads the charity energizes, educates, mentors, and connects self-identified women entrepreneurs to be wildly successful, promoting strengthened economies and thriving communities.

  21. Kari LaMotte, Managing Director at entrepreneurship@UBC. e@UBC has supported some of B.C.’s most innovative companies including A&K Robotics, Acuva Technologies, Aspect Biosystems, and Spocket.

  22. Virginia Balcolm, Executive Director at SFU VentureLabs. VentureLabs has helped top startups including Ayogo, Curatio, CuePath Innovation, and OptigoNetworks.

  23. Dr. Gerri Sinclair, Innovation Commissioner with the B.C. government. The province is set to launch (yet another) new innovation strategy later this year. Sinclair will likely be charged with putting it into action.

Help us continue to build this list. Who else would you add to your Vancouver tech and business power list?