Our Executives in Residence
Mentoring BC’s Next Generation of Health-Tech Companies
Innovation Boulevard delivers a variety of services and programs that spark the growth and success of BC-based health technology companies, including the Executives in Residence (EIR) program. EIRs are experienced professionals who bring an entrepreneurial perspective and significant depth in establishing growth-oriented businesses.
EIRs mentor and coach many Innovation Boulevard clients in areas ranging from goal-setting, to market validation, to financing strategies, and more. EIRs provide strategic expertise, as well as the networks, to help companies at virtually every stage of growth.
Innovation Boulevard has an incredible depth of EIR talent available to support our accelerator companies and clients.
Founder and Managing Director of Novateur, Ali Ardakani is a technical and entrepreneurial corporate development & operations biotech executive, board member, and investor with almost 20 years of experience in managing life science projects and companies. For the past 18 years, Ali has been pivotal in start-up and development of several biotech companies, drugs and medical devices, for which he has raised millions of dollars in private and grant financing. Most recently, he co-founded virtual biotech Niiki Pharma Inc in NYC, where he acquired two first-in-class oncology drugs from Europe and took them through US IND, UK CTA and Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials within 3 years. Prior to Niiki Pharma, he was the director of corporate development at iCell Therapeutics, a drug delivery platform company. Prior to iCell he led operations of PulmoNOx Medical Inc, a medical device company responsible for 510(k) approval of two novel medical devices. At the same time, he was VP of Operations of EquATec, a virtual med-tech veterinary company developing novel therapies for the equine, where he led global operations and trials in Canada, US and Hong Kong. He also managed the global alliance of EquATec with a large pharma partner.
Alison Berg has 20 years of strategic marketing and HR development experience, having worked for early-stage innovators in big data, telecommunications, and high-performance computing, including Abatis Systems, Redback Networks, OctigaBay Systems, Cray Canada, and PHEMI Systems. She’s played a change agent role in several of BC’s most innovative start-up technology companies as they transitioned from small 5-person shops to over 100-person companies purchased in some of Canada’s largest acquisitions.
Alison has also co-founded a supercomputing startup and e-commerce business; she has worked for several municipal governments in labour and employee relations, and has consulted with numerous organizations on marketing, business development, and HR issues. She holds an MBA in Marketing, a BA in English, and an HR certiﬁcate. Alison served as the president of Soroptimist International of the TriCities, an international service organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls.
Focused on addressing global challenges in health care, environment, and education, Betsabeh Madani has created and led a series of strategic partnerships and technology commercialization. Betsabeh is currently the VP of Strategy at Equicare Health, where she oversees market positioning, strategic partnerships, and vertical growth across Oncology and other chronic illnesses. Previously at Cerner Corporation, she navigated cross-functional initiatives covering overall corporate strategy, predictive analytics and population health.
Her career spans operations at start-ups (Boreal Genomics, and Peroxyium), scientific research in academia, management consulting at the Boston Consulting Group (organizational restructuring), and innovation commercialization at Mitacs across a diverse portfolio of clean technology, advanced engineering, agriculture, life sciences, and First Nations’ economic development. Betsabeh holds Honors Bachelors in Physics and in Biochemistry from UVic, a Masters in BioMechanical Engineering from UBC, and a Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business MBA. Outside of work, she judges Engineering competitions, mentors women in STEM, and advises early-stage start-ups across technology and life sciences.
Donald Park has 15 years of global digital strategy and advanced manufacturing technologies at top medical device and dental companies including Straumann, Biomet, Biomet 3i and others. Donald has built one of the largest digital dental CAD/CAM manufacturing centers in North America.
He has significant experience with M&A and PE roll-up projects, as well as consulting projects with global dental CAD/CAM materials, software and implant manufacturers. He currently is the COO of CareCru, an AI SaaS platform for automating health care workflows. Donald also brings significant experience in global supply chains, manufacturing, market and product development. He graduated from McGill University.
Dr. Alexandra Greenhill
Dr. Alexandra Greenhill is cofounder and CEO of Careteam and myBestHelper, and the creator of Littlecodr. A graduate of Université de Montreal and McGill University, Alexandra has practiced as a physician in Quebec, Ontario and BC and held numerous leadership executive roles. An ex-coder and early tech adopter, she has worked with over 20 different EMRs and was the CMO of Medeo, first direct to patient telehealth in Canada. She advises many health and IT ventures, including Ayogo Health and Dialogue. She has served on many boards including the Canadian Society of Physician Executives, the Canadian Institute for Child Health and was Chair of the BC Conseil Scolaire Francophone. She has also received numerous awards, including only Canadian to be the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award Laureate, WXN’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada, YWCA Women of Distinction Award (Entrepreneurship), the BIV Top 40 under 40 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal of Service.
Dr. Andrew Tait
Dr. Andrew Tait is the founder of Tait Laboratories Inc., a company devoted to developing natural medicines from agricultural bi-products. After a B.Sc. in Biochemistry and M.Sc. in Chemistry from Concordia University (Montreal), Andrew completed a Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of British Columbia. Inspired by his thesis work on multiple sclerosis, he subsequently identified Traditional Chinese Medicines as having potential to treat a wide range of chronic diseases; he founded the company while finishing his graduate studies.
In 2012, he was invited to Ottawa to be awarded the NSERC Innovation Challenge Award, for successfully translating his Ph.D. research to an entrepreneurial venture. In 2014, he was awarded the BC Food Processors Association “Rising Star” award. Supported by the Futurpreneur Canada, the Bank of Development of Canada, the UBC’s Entrepreneurship@UBC program, and the NSERC and NRC Industry Research Assistance Program (IRAP), he works with industrial and academic researchers developing safe, affordable, and clinically proven medicines. He successfully launched MS+ Mandarin Skin Plus®, a patent-pending digestive product now on shelf in over 1000 pharmacies and health food stores across Canada, including 400 Rexall pharmacies. He mentors young companies as an Entrepreneur in Residence; he also volunteers his time to mentor students of the Student Biotechnology Network.
Dr. Bruce Forde
Dr. Bruce Forde leads Cambian’s initiatives to transform the health system using innovative information solutions that empower people, their families, and care providers. Bruce is the CEO and founder of Cambian, a leading patient-centric health care information solution provider. Cambian customers include medical clinics, health authorities, researchers, application vendors, and integrated care delivery networks across North America. Cambian products provide access to health data, personalized education, secure communications, and an integrated approach for distributed multidisciplinary teams.
Over the past 30 years, Bruce has held various senior-management positions at international systems engineering and information technology companies. Bruce has led the development of integrated practice management and electronic medical record applications in Canada and USA. Bruce holds a Ph.D and a M.A.Sc. in Applied Science from the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Scott Kraft
Dr. Scott Kraft is a physician with over 14 years of experience in information technology’s application in health care, quality improvement and clinical research. Scott leads the adoption of innovative technologies by focusing on user experience and ensuring meaningful outcomes are realized. He is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary, and has served as the Associate Chief Medical Information Officer for Alberta Health Services. He is a physician team member of the Human Diagnosis project. He completed the Neurology residency at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Doctor of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, a Master’s degree in Science at Memorial, and a Movement Disorders Fellowship and Executive Training Program at the University of Calgary.
Gerardo Noriega is a serial entrepreneur, inventor and scholar in the medical device industry, founding three medical devices companies and consulting to over 50 companies in the Silicon Valley. He has significant experience in identifying unmet clinical needs, assessing new business opportunities worldwide, and developing new technologies with strong intellectual property rights.
Gerardo has hands-on experience in bringing new technologies from inception to full commercialization under the “vision and execution” type of approach. He has expertise and interest in developing novel technologies in the following areas: cardiovascular, peripheral vasculature, neurovascular, COPD, urology, gynecology, robotics, odontology, and obesity.
Muhammad Akmal Jameel
Muhammad Akmal Jameel, CFA, is an experienced entrepreneur and investment professional with experience of startups both in Canada and emerging markets. Muhammad has worked with startups in medical devices, fintech, media, and software. Currently, he is the CFO of a startup in genomic technology, having led them through a seed funding round of $1.0 million and now raising a Series-A. He has also conceived, developed and launched a financial-planning company in the ethical finance space based on web distribution.
His can help startups with advice on seed, debt and grant funding, as well as developing pitch decks, especially the financial projections components. He can also provide advice on accounting, tax, and legal matters from an executive (not expert) perspective. Muhammad has an extensive network in the US with the VC community and medical technology community.
For the past 18 years, Stephen Urquhart has been focused on change and project management. Working directly with multinational organizations, startups, and SME’s in a variety of countries, Stephen provides unique insights to facilitate acceleration from concepts to commercial success. Industry leadership is combined with a personal drive of lifelong learning and strong attachment and support of academic institutions, the true cornerstone of innovation.
Regardless of the industry, his focus is based on the patient pathway and the patient experience, true drivers of change and innovation. Beyond his success as a strategic advisor, he has had extensive experience with multiple community-based arts organizations. Experience with not-for-profit community-based organizations has provided unique insights and management tools in creating impact and lasting changing through collaboration to local needs and cultures. He recently served as the Chair of MEDEC’s Western Canada Committee, and he holds a B. Sc. from the University of Alberta, and an MBA from the University of Athabasca.
Udi Daon is an executive and entrepreneur with 17+ years of achievement in medical devices and augmented reality. Udi is the founder of Navigate Surgical Technologies, a pioneering motion tracking and 3D visualization company. He holds extensive IP and innovation development experience with an accomplished background in product development, licensing and sales. He’s well known as a creative, innovative and entrepreneurial team leader with a proven fundraising track record. His areas of expertise include: strategic planning, augmented reality, medical devices, fundraising, licensing agreements, IP management, algorithm design, market research, ergonomic design, software workflow, surgical procedures, product definition and development, and risk management.