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Dr. Krista Holmes
Dr. Krista Holmes is the Director of Research and Innovation at George Brown College. She has fifteen years of experience working at various institutions in the postsecondary education sector in a diverse range of positions including administrator, faculty member, consultant, and support staff. Most recently before joining the Office of Research and Innovation at George Brown, Krista was Associate Dean of Applied Research and Innovation at Humber College where she was accountable for the leadership, initiation, operational excellence and coordination of the college’s applied research portfolio. She has also been actively engaged in advancing the governance and administration of research ethics in the Ontario college sector through numerous related policy and advocacy initiatives at the provincial level. Krista’s professional experience is reinforced by her PhD in Leadership, Adult and Higher Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and her Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Carleton University.
Operations and Budget Manager
Rosalina has more than 10 years of experience in office administration, finance, accounting, and bookkeeping. She is a CPA from the Philippines, holds a B.Sc in Commerce, with a focus on accounting, from the University of Santo Tomas, and completed a Certificate in Computer Programming and Systems Analysis and Design from CICC-Japan. Since 2012, she has been the Budget and Operations Manager for the Office of Research and Innovation, where she oversees all departmental and research project budgets. Prior to joining the research and innovation team, Rosalina was a Controller at Traction Heavy Duty Truck Parts and a Managing Director at Rouge Hill Informatics.
Responsible for expanding entrepreneurial spaces and offerings at George Brown, Neal works tirelessly to ensure student entrepreneur success and the continued increase of student and alumni business creations. Neal brings a wealth of entrepreneurship expertise and strategic thinking to startGBC. He established his first company at the age of 16 and grew it to a multi-site operation, employing 26 team members with an annual turnover of over 1.5 million dollars. As a British civil servant tasked with encouraging foreign investment, he worked with some of North America’s top companies and promising start-ups, creating over 2,800 jobs in the UK and attracting foreign investments of over 1.4 billion dollars. Recognizing the power of collaboration for innovation, Neal is passionate about the need to share knowledge with start-ups.
Areas of Expertise:Entrepreneurship, International Trade, Project Management, Design Thinking
An expert in information management, Erin oversees the department’s information structures, ensuring that staff and stakeholders can easily store and use project-related data and information. In this capacity, she supervises data collection and reporting and is responsible for the design and maintenance of an IAGO custom project information database. Erin brings deep expertise in applied research, digital design, and information sciences to her work at George Brown College. She has a Masters of Information Studies, with a specialty in usability and human-computer interaction, from the University of Toronto. She also has 12 years of experience designing and executing research studies focused on online learning and 9 years of project management experience.
Areas of Expertise:Usability, and Human-Computer Interaction Information Management and Database Design; Interactive and User-Centred Design; Project Management; Research Study; Design and Execution
Knowledge Transfer Coordinator
As Knowledge Transfer Coordinator, Jillian oversees all ongoing outreach for the ORI, including divisional messaging, media production, press releases, funding proposals and marketing materials. Her career to date has explored a diverse range of media, spanning traditional outlets like print, advertising and publishing as well as emerging sectors like film, design, digital and social media. Jillian received an M.A. in Media Studies from York University in 2012, a B.A. (Hons) in English Literature from Memorial University, and a certificate in Graphic Design at George Brown College.
Areas of Expertise:graphic design, strategic communications, media production, creative problem solving, storytelling
Research Resource Coordinator
As Research Resource Coordinator, Alexis manages the on-boarding of research staff and project personnel. Throughout her career in business and human resources, Alexis has been committed to improving staff experiences and institutional effectiveness by streamlining processes, increasing efficiency and applying her person-focused soft skills. A lifelong learner, she graduated with Honours from the diploma program in Human Resources at George Brown College, will be graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in Law and Business from Ryerson University in June 2020, and has taken a variety of continuing education courses – from industrial sewing to wine tasting – at George Brown.
Areas of Expertise:Human Resources | Risk and Compliance | Project Management
Baaba has over ten years of experience providing administrative support in and around the educational sector and has considerable familiarity with the college infrastructure. Since 2008, she has supported all research and innovation activities, helping streamline applied research across the college. As the front line of Research and Innovation, Baaba is essential to managing its relationships with external and internal clients and stakeholders, as well as the coordination of meetings, events, workshops, and training. In 2005, Baaba graduated from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Also a community minded volunteer extraordinaire, Baaba was a George Brown College’s United Way Cabinet Members from 2010 to 2012 and has served as a volunteer at convocation ceremonies.
Areas of Expertise:Event Coordination | customer service focus | research ethics | administration | volunteer extraordinaire
Finance and Administrative Assistant
As finance and administrative assistant, Victoria supports the Office of Research and Innovation through activities such as processing payables and receivables, creating purchase orders, and generating financial reports. She also provides support to program managers, assisting with specific project-related financial inquiries. Previously, as a project analyst and administrative assistant, Victoria supervised and trained junior project analysts, performed market research, and served as a key liaison between software developers and clients. She is a graduate of George Brown College’s School of Management, where she obtained a diploma in Business.
Areas of Expertise:Microsoft Office, Communication, Organization, Critical Thinking, Attention to detail
Manager, Industry Liaison and Business Development
Daniel brings over 8 years of scope development and project management experience to George Brown, where he assists industry partners in smart building and fashion technology with all phases of scoping and project development in preparation for implementation. He is passionate about applying his business and project-related expertise to foster collaborative partnerships and support effective project planning and delivery. Before joining George Brown, Daniel worked with green and tech firms on projects in solar PV construction, energy efficiency programs, consumer packaged goods waste recycling, and customized software deployments. Daniel holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business (York University), a Graduate Diploma in Business and Environment (York University), and a BCOMM (Concordia University). He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Areas of Expertise:Scope Development, Project Management, Collaborative Partnerships, Sustainable Business
Manager, Industry Liaison & Business Development
Currently on parental leave.
Michelle brings a value-chain approach to FIRSt, where she has supported hundreds of food entrepreneurs throughout the product development process. Her academic and professional careers have focused on primary agriculture, agri-food, and agri-technology and she even occasionally assists on her parents’ cash crop farm. With a BA in Social Development (University of Waterloo) and a MA in Political Science and International Development (University of Guelph), she uses her interdisciplinary background to bring creative and holistic solutions to clients and partnerships. Michelle enjoys eating food as much as she enjoys working in the industry and is deeply committed to growing the food value chain in Ontario and Canada and increasing opportunities for Canadian food & agri-food companies.
Areas of Expertise:Food systems, Food Entrepreneurship, Relationship Management
Manager, Business Development & Industry Liaison
Joe has been actively involved in the food industry for over 30 years. He has held various senior positions in operations, procurement, and merchandising with Canada’s largest grocery retailer and he spent many years working in the food manufacturing environment in administration, marketing, sales, and product management roles. More recently, Joe was employed by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs. At FIRSt, Joe will be working closely with Food and Beverage companies to assist them in targeting specific programs and initiatives enabling them to strategically grow and develop their business. He is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, where he obtained a degree in Economics.
Currently on leave.
Juan brings 10 years of experience to the Research and Innovation Office in both the public and private sector. Her previous work for the City of Toronto and the City of Vaughan includes engagements to secure sponsorships and grants, and promoting various city building projects for new public libraries and library renovations. She also has a background working in the construction and architecture industries in Canada and abroad, focusing on sales and marketing. Juan is a George Brown College alumni, holding an advanced diploma in Business Administration – Marketing, which complements a dual Bachelor of Business Management and Law.
Senior Program Manager
Yuchen Sun oversees the operations and growth of the GBC research programs. Since starting with the Office of Research and Innovation in 2013, Yuchen has established a track record of delivering successful applied research projects and programs in the Building Information Modeling, Building Science, and Mechanical Engineering fields. She provides expert support to industry partners and research staff, whether they are engaging in initial project scoping conversations, applying for funding, or executing a funded research project. Yuchen is a certified Project Management Professional and a MA Candidate in Education with the University of Central Michigan.
Areas of Expertise:Program Management, Project Management, Risk Management, Process Improvement, Grant Development & Administration
Senior Manager, FIRSt
Dan oversees all project management at FIRSt. Since beginning work at George Brown over a decade ago, his strategic thinking skills, commitment to process improvement, and leadership capabilities have made him integral to the effective planning, execution, and closing of countless projects. Previously, Dan managed projects of all kinds, from statistical studies for the federal government to small-town music festivals. Dan graduated from George Brown College with an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration and was the recipient of the Project Management Award of Distinction. He now teaches in the School of Management, training the next generation of Project Managers. Outside of work, Dan has completed his Professional Fromager certification and can often be found at the Rogers Centre cheering on the Blue Jays.
Areas of Expertise:project management, strategic thinking, process improvement, team leadership
Program Manager, Social Innovation
Dr. Eva Aboagye
Within the Office of Research and Innovation, Eva provides guidance on and management of research methods and budgets for researchers applying to or holding external research or social innovation grants. She has over twenty years of management experience in the postsecondary sector, seventeen of which focused on strategic planning, research and teaching in the Ontario College system. Previously, she held several positions at Centennial College including Senior Researcher at the Institute for Global Citizenship and Equity, Director of Policies Pathways and Grants, and Manager of the Strategic Institutional Planning. Eva has a PhD and an M Ed in Higher Education from the University of Toronto and a BA from the University of Ghana.
Areas of Expertise:Research, Program Management, Strategic Planning, Policy development, Equity and diversity
Program Manager, Fashion Exchange
Ana Cristina Gigli
Ana possesses a wealth of experience in risk management, project management, and data modelling and analysis, which she applies at the Fashion Exchange to track project progress and manage the project team to ensure successful delivery. Ana came to the research and innovation team from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, where she performed data analysis to optimize fundraising efforts. She has also served as an Enterprise Risk Consultant at Santander Bank in São Paulo, Brazil. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Statistics and an MBA from the University of São Paulo and is also a graduate of the George Brown Project Management Postgraduate program.
Areas of Expertise:Project management, Data analytics, Risk management, CRM expertise
Since 2013, Morgan has been managing projects focused in Digital Design, Healthcare, Food & Beverage, and Green Technology projects with the Office of Research and Innovation. Her current role is managing the Innovation Exchange within the School of Design, where she uses insights gained from these diverse industries to promote and support the exchange and its clients in achieving product dreams, improving the access and adoption of state of the art technology, and supporting community relationships. With expertise in strategic planning, grant management, and innovative thinking, she provides tailored solutions and practical support throughout all stages of a project’s life cycle. Morgan is a graduate of George Brown’s Business Administration Program, where she specialized in project management, and came to this role with seven years of project management experience spanning the sports entertainment, healthcare, and hospitality sectors.
Areas of Expertise:Project Management, Strategic Planning, Grant Management, Innovative Thinking
Arbab draws from his extensive project management and business development experience as well as his practical experience in the construction industry to provide expertise and guidance to partners seeking solutions to mechanical engineering and construction sector research and innovation challenges. Skilled in managing projects in the fields of advanced prototyping, robotics information technology, building automation, IoT, and software development, Arbab has helped multiple clients execute projects and achieve success in developing innovative processes and products. His background working for numerous organizations is complimented by his master’s degree in Project Management (NICMAR), his post-graduate certificates in Construction Management (Fanshawe College, President’s Honor Roll) and Building Information Modelling (George Brown College, Dean’s List), and his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering (Jamia Millia Islamia University).
Project Manager, FIRSt
Nuvi has been managing projects and grants within the Healthcare and Food and Beverage Industry for 7+ years. Before joining George Brown, Nuvi managed medical research grants for the Physicians’ Services Incorporated (PSI) Foundation, and worked for the Greenbelt Fund supporting and promoting increased demand for and access to local food in Ontario. Nuvi uses project management skills heavily at FIRSt to meet business objectives while upholding exceptional customer service in order to run the best operations possible and continuously engage in projects. Nuvi has a BA from University of Guelph. She continues to nurture her passion for food and beverage by taking classes in George Brown’s Wine, Culinary and Baking Arts program.
Areas of Expertise:Project management Grant management in healthcare, agriculture, agri-food, and product development Relationship management
Project Manager, FIRSt
Amanda has over five years of project management experience across industries including marketing, education and tech. Passionate about creating impact through efficiency, teamwork, and team leadership, she brings disciplined planning and organization skills to the table to ensure projects run smoothly and clients have optimal experiences. Amanda holds a BA in Communication Studies from Laurentian University and a Graduate Certificate in Public Relations from Cambrian College. Always looking to expand her repertoire of project management and marketing strategies, Amanda has taken multiple continuing education courses in project management and digital communications. Outside of FIRSt, Amanda is a professional photographer, and will occasionally be found snapping food pictures around the lab.
Areas of Expertise:Creative problem solving; food and beverage manufacture, communication; food science; product formulation/optimization; sensory evaluation
Project Manager, FIRSt
Natalia has been managing projects and events with contagious enthusiasm for over 5 years. Highly motivated, she consistently strives to apply her strategic problem solving and communication skills to provide FIRSt clients with the best possible solutions and experiences. Natalia’s background includes hospitality and event planning for George Brown’s Centre for Business and the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. She has is a graduate of the Business Administration, Project Management program at George Brown College and holds a BA from Carleton University.
Areas of Expertise:Project Management, Active Listening, Communication, Leadership
Administrative Assistant, FIRSt
Lorenza brings extensive experience in administration and managing operations to her position as Finance and Administrative Assistant at FIRSt. Her diverse skill set ranges from client management to financial and wealth management to investor and shareholder communications and budgeting. Prior to joining FIRSt, she worked at Kingsdale Shareholder Services and AIG Philippines. Her considerable history of office management ensures that our partners and projects are supported by streamlined operations and an efficient infrastructure. Lorenza has a B.Sc. degree in Business Administration from the University of the Philippines.
Areas of Expertise:Operations management and control, Financial management and budgeting, Administration and office management
Senior Food Scientist
Rob McCurdy brings considerable academic and industry experience to his role as Senior Food Scientist at George Brown College’s Food Innovation and Research Studio. Rob has both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Food Science from the University of Guelph. Rob has more than 25 years of experience in product and process development/innovation, project management, quality systems design, market research, scientific writing, large and small scale manufacturing, and process validation/optimization processes within the food industry. Rob’s retail & food service experience includes roles as a Quality Scientist (Royal Canin Canada), Senior Scientist (Mars/Masterfoods, USA), Technical Director (Lyons Magnus) and Applied Research Scientist (Food Innovation and Research Studio (FIRSt), George Brown College). Rob’s technical expertise includes product formulation, nutritional compliance testing, thermal processing, market research, sensory evaluation, technical writing, food chemistry, bench-top to production scale-up, regulatory compliance, and quality system management. Rob’s extensive product development portfolio spans a wide range of food categories including sauces, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, confectionery products, fruit compotes, variegates and fillings, shelf stable entrees, pet foods, salad dressings, salsas, smoothies, fudges and caramels. Since joining GBC in 2014, Rob has been instrumental in the success of over 50 applied research projects and product development-related services at FIRSt.
Consulting Senior Food Scientist
Bob’s career in food product development and management, process implementation, and quality and field consulting has taken him across 5 continents. If you have ever enjoyed jalapeno havarti, the world-wide gold standard Pizza Hut crust and pepperoni, or toaster chicken you have sampled a small selection of Bob’s portfolio. His resume spans the development of over 250 food products and menu items for many major food service and retail brands. In the lab, office, and boardroom, Bob prides himself in building teams, transforming processes and developing new and exciting products. Bob is all about the “why” in finding solutions to technical problems. In 2013, he was awarded with the internationally recognized Certified Food Scientist designation.
Areas of Expertise:Food product development from ideation to completed commercialization (I2M), Food Service PD and field technical support, Food manufacturing product & process systems, design and efficiency improvement, Ingredient applications development and sourcing, Technical writing
From learning family recipes to working in hotels around the world, Candace’s passion for food has been her driving force. With over 16 years of culinary and foodservice experience, she has proven skills in recipe and product development. Candace values building strong client relationships at FIRSt and has a proven track record of meeting the demands of FIRSt’s diverse and dynamic clients, who are often at the cutting edge of the foodservice and the consumer package goods industry. By collaborating with food scientists and culinary students at FIRSt, she applies her culinary and sensory science experience to meet the needs of FIRSt’s diverse clients to produce best-selling products. Her product roaster includes ready to drink beverages, sauces, healthy snacks and nutrition focused recipes which help in the recovery of certain medical conditions. Since starting her career at FIRSt, she has seen first-hand how innovation continues to push the boundaries when developing unique products, and how food continues to bring people together. Candace holds a B.A from the University of Windsor and is an alumnus of both the George Brown College (GBC) Culinary Management and Italian postgraduate programs. Candace is a member of the Research Chef Association is also a past recipient of the prestigious Ontario Hostelry Institute’s ‘Top 30 Under 30’ award.
Food Scientist, FIRSt
After obtaining a Food Science degree at the University of Guelph, Emily’s interest in the Culinary Arts led her to complete a Culinary Certificate at George Brown. There, she became enamored with the creative problem solving involved in food and beverage manufacturing and was thrilled when she was eventually hired as a food scientist. At FIRSt, Emily works with clients and partners to discern the “why and how” of food science challenges and to formulate, optimize and evaluate the sensory properties of food and beverage products. Previously, Emily worked for Mondelez International, conducting research and development for brands such as Oreo and Chips Ahoy, and for Maple Leaf Foods, as a microbial technologist. In 2019, she was a recipient of Ontario Hostelry Institute’s “Top 30 Under 30” award.
Areas of Expertise:Creative problem solving; food and beverage manufacture, communication; food science; product formulation/optimization; sensory evaluation
Food Scientist, FIRSt
Kassandra Wagner joins the FIRSt team as a Food Scientist, after working for Metro Inc. as a Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance Specialist, specifically dealing with private label brands. She has experience with food start-up companies, working on product development and digital marketing. Kassandra brings experience and education with her in the field of food science, discovering her passion for the field after volunteering at a food microbiology lab during her first summer at school. When not at FIRSt, you’ll find Kassandra out at new restaurants or the most recent festival in Toronto, trying to replicate some of her discoveries at home! Kassandra holds a Bachelor of Science in Food Science (Honours), with a minor in Nutritional and Nutraceutical Science, and continues to study business, community nutrition and dietetics. She is passionate about fitness and is currently studying for a certificate in exercise science and nutrition.
Manager, Business Development (PDx)
Dr. Andrew Fraser
Andrew’s career has focused on building Canada into an international innovation hub through cultivating and growing high-value, mutually beneficial partnerships, fostering the development of talent, facilitating business investment in research and development, and enabling the development and commercialization of disruptive products and services. Andrew brings experience in the Ontario post-secondary system (Conestoga College, George Brown College, Ryerson University) leveraging programs, networks, expertise and infrastructure to enable hundreds of win-win academic-industry, applied research projects across diverse sectors. These projects supported small and medium sized enterprises to become more productive, while providing valuable student experiential learning. Previously, Andrew worked in positions of increasing responsibility at different venture capital funds in Europe and across Canada, partnering with entrepreneurs to help them to build their businesses. Andrew received his Ph.D. from McGill University and his MBA from Universiteit Nyenrode.
Research Project Coordinator
Vanessa provides guidance and support to faculty applying for internal and external grant funding opportunities. Prior to working at George Brown, she worked as a Research and Administrative Assistant at the University of Toronto and as a Summer Student at Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care. Vanessa graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Global Health from the University of Toronto in 2019 and has a keen interest in health equity research and social accountability.
Areas of Expertise:Project management, research, writing
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