(Toronto—July 15, 2013) OCAD University has appointed John Albright, Helen Kearns, Sharifa Khan and Karen Prentice, Q.C. as external members to the Board of Governors. As well, Dr. John Semple was elected to the position of second Vice Chair on June 17, 2013.
“We are honoured and delighted that these individuals have agreed to serve OCAD University by joining our Board of Governors," says Ian Tudhope, the board's Chair. "They will collaborate with our other committed members and our dynamic leadership team to ensure a strong future for Canada's University of the Imagination. As volunteers we are inspired by the contribution that creativity, art and design thinking can bring to bear in our complex world.”
President Sara Diamond added: “OCAD University has built a talented board that can enable our current strengths and future directions, whether commercialization of our research; design for health; technology and digital media; a powerful gallery system; building a creative city; a deeper internationalization of our university or effective policy intervention. I look forward to working with all of our board members, whose support is crucial to achieving the goals of our strategic plan, Advancing Excellence at OCAD University for the Age of the Imagination, 2012-17.”
John Albright, elected to the board on May 6, 2013, is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Relay Ventures, an early stage venture fund exclusively focused on mobile connectivity. During his tenure in the venture capital business, John has gained extensive experience assisting entrepreneurs shape their vision and capital plans into successful long term growth programs which typically involved an aggressive financing strategy. John has a history of assisting entrepreneurial companies through significant growth and eventually to the public markets. His ability to work with and advise senior management of investee companies, as well as his skills in filling supporting roles where existing management lack the experience or skill set, has been vital to the success of past investments.
John is a Chartered Financial Analyst and received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Schulich School of Business at York University.
Helen Kearns was appointed to the board by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on December 21, 2012. Helen is the President and CEO of Bell Kearns & Associates Ltd. and has been a leader in capital markets in Canada for more than 30 years.
Prior to joining Bell Kearns, Helen was President of NASDAQ Canada (2001-2004) and an officer of NASDAQ, the world's largest electronic market by trading volume. In her capacity as President she was responsible for introducing the NASDAQ trading platform to Canadian capital markets, and during her tenure she successfully gained breakthrough regulatory recognition for NASDAQ British Columbia.
In 2005, Ms. Kearns was appointed to the Board of the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, one of the most respected pension plans in the world. Additionally, she has been honoured for business leadership by The John Molson School of Business and the Montreal Board of Trade, as well as receiving the Women on the Move Award for entrepreneurs.
Sharifa Khan, elected to the board on April 1, 2013, has more than 30 years’ experience as a multicultural marketing professional, and can truly be called a pioneer in the field of multicultural marketing before the term was even invented. Today, thanks to her efforts, ethnic markets are in the mix of target groups by mainstream corporations. She started the ethnic marketing division of a mainstream marketing and public relations firm in the early 1980s and transitioned to being a shareholder and consultant at this firm. She moved on to establish Balmoral Marketing, in 1989, where she is presently President and CEO.
At Balmoral Marketing, Sharifa leads a team of seasoned ethnic specialists to service corporate, government and non-profit organizations — guiding them to connect with new markets in Canada. In 1999, she received federal government recognition from Prime Minister Jean Chrétien for entrepreneurial success.
Karen Prentice, Q.C., elected to the board on June 17, 2013, has 30 years of combined legal, executive management and governance experience. Most recently she chaired the Board of Trustees of the TSX traded CANMARC REIT and served for six years as a member of the Alberta Securities Commission. Prior to that, Karen was Executive Vice-President of ENMAX Corporation responsible for legal services, corporate governance, human resources, facilities, environment, health and safety, government relations and corporate communication functions.
Her extensive not for profit governance experience includes having been a director or chair of over a dozen boards spanning the diverse sectors of visual, performing and literary arts, mathematics, science, and advanced education. She currently is a director of the National Arts Centre Foundation, the Walrus Foundation and Canada's National History Society. Most recently, Karen was the Chair of the Banff International Research Station for Innovation and Discovery, and a member of the boards of directors of Calgary's Telus World of Science and the Ottawa Art Gallery. Karen is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors. She has a B.A. from the University of Saskatchewan and an LLB. from the University of Calgary.
Dr. John Semple
As chief of surgery at Women’s College Hospital, Dr. John Semple has been instrumental in establishing the hospital as home to one of the country’s top centres for breast restoration. He put Women’s College on the map as a leading centre for breast reconstruction some years ago by developing and pioneering new surgical techniques in breast restoration. Previously, as director of the Advanced Regenerative Tissue Engineering Centre at the University of Toronto and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Dr. Semple led a group of scientists, engineers and surgeons in producing new technologies for soft tissue regeneration and reconstruction following cancer surgery. He is a professor in the department of surgery at the University of Toronto and former president of the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons.
In March 2010, Dr. Semple was named chair in surgical breast cancer research by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Ontario Region. The chair is based at Women’s College and was the first endowed chair in the hospital’s department of surgery. Dr. Semple’s appointment, Women’s College’s first such appointment in surgical breast cancer research, placed him as a core scientist at Women’s College Research Institute (WCRI). He and his team explore improvements in reconstructive surgery techniques including the use of autotransplantation of a patient’s own lymph nodes to treat and prevent the formation of lymphedema ― a painful side-effect of breast cancer treatment that can cause severe swelling in the arm. Dr. Semple graduated from OCAD University in 1975.
A complete list of members of the Board of Governors and their biographies is available at
About OCAD University
OCAD University (www.ocadu.ca) is Canada’s “university of imagination.” The university, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.
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