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Governor Biographies

Picture of Nyla Ahmad Nyla AHMAD (2018-2020) 

Nyla is a strategic thinker and hands-on operator who turns ideas into action. Most comfortable on the cutting edge of new technologies and innovative approaches to business and culture, Nyla has a strong background in product development, marketing, sales, transformational leadership, and a proven track record of team success. During her 15-year tenure at Rogers, Canada’s leading Telecom company, Nyla has held several leadership roles shaping the company’s response to changing market conditions, technological innovation, Internet adoption patterns, partner ecosystems, and evolving customer expectations around service and value. In her current role as SVP Marketing & Base Management in the Enterprise Business Unit (EBU), a high growth unit at Rogers, Nyla has fuelled a new vision and operating model focussed on measurable results, rapid adoption of technology solutions, and a roadmap for a future-forward marketing approach – which includes content marketing, digital and social amplification, customer interaction and lifecycle management, and sales enablement, to name a few. Best known for her authentic and inspirational leadership style, Nyla gives her time generously to sponsor and mentor rising talent both inside and outside the organization, is Chair of Rogers’ Inclusion & Diversity Council, past-President of the Rogers Women’s Network, and speaks frequently on technology, innovation, culture, diversity – and the intersections that are key to high-performance teams. Previous roles at Rogers Communications include operating a scale-up Incubator, Rogers Ventures, Corporate & Partner Strategy, launching the Internet division of Rogers Media and, in 1998, pioneering online video innovation and rich-media advertising on Rogers@Home, Canada’s first broadband portal. Nyla is active on the Perimeter Institute’s Emmy Noether Circle, keen supporter of women in STEM, past participant in the prestigious Judy Project, recipient of the Canadian Women in Communications Technology Innovator Award, author of Canadian bestseller Cybersurfer: the OWL Internet Guide for Kids, and creator of OWLKids Online and CHIRP magazine, voted 1997 Magazine of the Year.

Upkar Arora Upkar ARORA (2016-2018)

Upkar Arora is the founder of Illumina Partners, a boutique advisory firm which has specialized in strategy, operations, M&A and finance since 2002. Through Illumina and companies such as Onex, Nortel, Trizec & Olympia & York, he has worked in senior capacities with some of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs over the past thirty years, acquiring, building and advising companies in Canada, and globally. In 2014, Upkar founded Illumina Social Impact Partners to advise and invest in enterprises committed to social impact and generating positive, scalable and sustainable change in our communities. Upkar’s extensive board experience includes Chair of the Board of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Chair of the Canadian Arts Summit, Chair of the Advisory Council of Waterloo’s School of Accounting and Finance, Chair of the Advisory Board of Tok Transit and Director on the Boards of Institute for Canadian Citizenship and Metrolinx. Upkar is a CPA, CA and holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors. He graduated with a Master's degree from the UW’s School of Accounting and Finance, where he also teaches. In 2015 he received the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award to recognize his significant contribution to the university.

Picture of Jagdeep BachherJagdeep BACHHER (2018-2021)

Chief Investment Officer of the Regents University of California Office of the President, Jagdeep Singh Bachher is responsible for managing over $118 billion across the UC Endowment, Pension, Retirement Savings, Working Capital and Insurance on behalf of the Board of Regents of the University of California. Before joining UC in March 2014, Jagdeep held the roles of Deputy Chief Investment Officer and Chief Operating Officer at Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCo) in Alberta, Canada. From 2004 to 2009, he worked in the U.S. Wealth Management, Canadian, and Investments divisions of Manulife Financial. Jagdeep is chairman emeritus of the Institutional Investors Roundtable and received his PhD and MASc degrees in management sciences and BASc degree in mechanical engineering from University of Waterloo, Canada.

Pictue of Kathy BardswickKathy BARDSWICK (2017-2019)

Following a career that spanned nearly four decades with The Co-operators Group Ltd., Katherine stepped down from her role as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2016. Very active in the cooperative and mutual insurance movement over the years, as well as in her local community, Katherine has held professional board and voluntary roles with a wide range of organizations including:  the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the United Nations Inquiry into a Sustainable Financial System, the University of Guelph, the Conference Board of Canada, Addenda Capital, and The Co-operators Group Ltd. She is immediate past Chair of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation, Sovereign General Insurance Company, and the CUMIS Group Limited boards. She currently holds director roles with the International Cooperative Alliance, Foresters Financial, Metrolinx and Canatics. Katherine holds a Bachelor of Science (Math) from the University of Manitoba and a MBA (Marketing) from McMaster University. She was appointed Honorary Chartered Insurance Professional with the Insurance Institute of Canada  Katherine lives with her husband Bernie Mutter in Burlington, Ontario. They have 4 boys.

Peter Barr Peter BARR (2017-2020)

Peter Barr has been with Deloitte for thirty-five years and has held a variety of leadership positions. He is currently the Managing Partner for the Waterloo and Western Ontario Region office and the liaison to d{ }, Deloitte’s new prototyping hub dedicated to accelerating the development of new products and services that leverage emerging technologies. He is also the innovation leader for the Ontario executive team.  Most recently, Peter completed a term as the National Managing Partner of Industry and Marketplace Services where he was a member of the Canadian firm’s executive, overseeing all industry programs and our marketing strategy. Prior to this, he was National Consumer Business Leader.  His clients range from large multinational businesses to family owned businesses.  He has been a guest lecturer at the Universities of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier and Guelph and has been an advisor to the Conference Board of Canada.  From 2008 to 2012 Peter was a member of the Deloitte Board of Directors. Peter is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, a past member of the SAF Alumni Executive, an advisor to the Lazaridis Institute, and a past board member for a variety of local arts’ organizations.

Dominic BartonDominic BARTON (2018-2021)

Dominic Barton is renowned for his strategic insights and expert guidance on business, governance and economic development. Elected by the University’s Senate to a three-year term, the chancellor presides over convocation ceremonies, conferring degrees, diplomas and certificates on graduating students. He also serves as a leading ambassador for the University. In addition to his work with McKinsey and the Government of Canada, Barton is a trustee of the Brookings Institution, a member of the Singapore Economic Development Board’s International Advisory Council, a board member at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York and the Asia Pacific Foundation Canada. He is also a Rhodes trustee and an honorary fellow at Brasenose College in Oxford England. Born in Uganda and a Ugandan and Canadian citizen, Barton received a BA Honours in economics from the University of British Columbia and studied as a Rhodes scholar at Brasenose College at the University of Oxford. Barton is the author of more than 80 articles and several books ranging from the role of business in society to leadership and talent development. He is a recipient of the INSEAD Business Leader for the World Award (2011), the Korean Order of Civil Merit (Peony Medal, 2013), the Singaporean Public Service Star (2014), the Foreign Policy Association Corporate Social Responsibility Award (2017), and Canada’s Public Policy Forum Testimonial Award (2017).

Shannon Dea Shannon DEA (2017-2019)

Shannon Dea (PhD, Western, 2007) is an Associate Professor of Philosophy. She researches and teaches about the history of philosophy (17th to 20th century), abortion issues, sex and gender, pedagogy, and various equity issues. She is the author of Beyond the Binary: Thinking About Sex and Gender (Peterborough: Broadview, 2016), and of numerous articles and book chapters. Shannon has a long history of service in academe and in the community. Currently FAUW Vice-President, Philosophy Associate Chair (Graduate), and Faculty Senator, Shannon has previously served as Arts Teaching Fellow, Women’s Studies Director, and Philosophy Associate Chair (Undergraduate).
She is the founder of Waterloo Women’s Wednesdays (W3), and former president of Planned Parenthood Waterloo Region (now SHORE). In 2013, Shannon was a recipient of the Province of Ontario’s Leading Women Building Communities Award. She is strongly committed to the principle that faculty members have the right and duty to shape university policies and practices through collegial governance. She has served on a wide range of departmental, faculty and university level committees, and is particularly active on matters related to equity and pedagogy. Shannon regularly gives public talks and media interviews on matters related to gender and social justice.

Picture of Tia DriverTia DRIVER (2018-2020)

With a BA in Honours Environmental Studies and Legal Studies Option from Wilfrid Laurier University, Tia is currently an MES candidate in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development and will be returning to complete a Master of Climate Change at the University of Waterloo. Her research explores flood risk management and governance at the municipal level. She has shown leadership on and off campus by serving on many committees during her time at both universities and by representing students at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23). Tia currently sits as vice-chair for the City of Kitchener’s Environmental Advisory Committee and as a co-chair for the Laurel Creek Citizens Working Group at the City of Waterloo.

Picture of Paul FieguthPaul FIEGUTH (2018-2020)

Paul Fieguth studied undergraduate electrical engineering at the University of Waterloo and graduate engineering degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has been a member of the faculty at the University of Waterloo in Systems Design Engineering since 1996, where he has been Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies and, since 2010, Department Chair. As Chair, he initiated and led the proposal for a new biomedical engineering undergraduate program, which has significantly transformed the department with new research areas and increased faculty. He is presently on the University of Waterloo Senate, the Senate Executive committee, and is a member of the Board of Governors at the Research Institute for Aging and at Conrad Grebel University College. His research interests include statistical signal and image processing, hierarchical algorithms, data fusion, and the interdisciplinary applications of such methods. He has significant pedagogical interests in the area of complex systems, building a deeper understanding among engineering students on the impact of complex systems in many areas of engineering decision-making. He is the author two textbooks, a 2010 Springer text on Statistical Image Processing & Multidimensional Modeling, and a 2017 Springer text on Complex Systems.

Cindy ForbesCindy FORBES (2012-2014; 2014-2016; 2017-2020)

Cindy Forbes is Executive Vice President and Chief Analytics Officer of Manulife and is a member of the Company’s Global Leadership Team. Prior to this role, she served as Chief Actuary.  Ms Forbes oversees the company’s analytics function worldwide. She has spent more than 30 years with Manulife holding senior finance roles in the Reinsurance, Investment and U.S. divisions. Previously, she worked in the Company’s Asian operations, where Manulife offers a diverse range of products including individual life insurance, group insurance plans, pensions and wealth management products across 10 territories. Ms Forbes was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network in 2011 and again in 2015. She holds positions on a number of external boards including the International Insurance Society. Her industry knowledge and international experience, combined with the diverse roles she has held in her career, give her a unique perspective on the future state of the analytics function and the insurance industry.

George Freeman George FREEMAN (2012-2014; 2017-2019)

George H. Freeman received B.A.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1979 and 1984, respectively. He then joined the Continuous Speech Recognition Group at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York where he worked on statistical language modelling and parallel computing for speech recognition. In 1985, he returned to Waterloo where he is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, with a continuing research interest in statistical signal-processing algorithms. From 2002 to 2008, he served as Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, helping achieve major curriculum revisions in electrical and computer engineering and the rollout of the department’s then-new shared programs in software, mechatronics, and nanotechnology engineering. A long-time proponent of effective collegial govenance and academic freedom, George is currently on the board of the Faculty Association and has served as its President (2009-2012) and Past President (2012-2015). His recent teaching includes computer programming (undergraduate) and statistics (graduate), both to students of biomedical engineering.

Picture of Murray GambleMurray GAMBLE (2018-2021)

Murray Gamble is the President of the C3 Group of Companies, an innovative engineering and advanced construction technology organization, based in Waterloo Region. A graduate of the University of Waterloo, Murray has been an active entrepreneur in the region for 30 years, founding a number of technology companies with his partner Cameron Wood. He is also an active Angel Investor, mentor and board member for several early stage technology companies in Waterloo Region. Murray is past Chair of the Innovators Alliance (the association of Ontario’s fastest growing firms) and sits on the Engineering Deans Advisory Council at University of Waterloo. Murray serves on the board of the Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation and the KW Community Foundation. He has also been a board member for several community organizations including The Centre in the Square, The KW Art Gallery and THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener. He was the 2013 recipient of the Waterloo Region Barnraiser of the Year Award for collaborative community leadership and was the 2017 recipient of the Michael R. Follet Community Leader of the Year Award from the KW Chamber of Commerce.

Picture of Marth GeorgeMartha GEORGE (2016-2019)

Previously Vice president of George Masonry Ltd. Gold Seal Certified – Estimator Martha joined the Grand Valley Construction Association July 1, 2005 as President and CEO.  She serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Council of Ontario Construction Associations. Vice Chair of the Canadian Construction Association ( CCA) Chief Operating Officers committee, and serves on the Trade Contractors, Standard Practices and Innovation committee for CCA. She joined Conestoga College Board of Governors in September 2009 and currently serves as vice chair for the Board, and Chair of the Facilities committee. She received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012 for her contributions to the construction industry in Canada. Martha is a Board Member of the new Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation, Martha is also on Appointments Council for the Ontario College of Trades which is appointed by the Ontario Government.

Picture of Robert GorbetRobert GORBET (2018;2018-2020)

Dr. Rob Gorbet received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1997.  He has been on faculty at Waterloo since 2000, and has taught in three different Faculties. He currently chairs the Department of Knowledge Integration. Rob is an award-winning teacher and interdisciplinarian who collaborates with artists, designers, architects, engineers and scientists to create interactive artistic and architectural installations. His interests include working with embedded systems, anything to do with helping interdisciplinary groups work well together, and creating things that make people smile in amazement. He lives in Kitchener with his partner, Maud, and their three teenaged children.

PIcture of FeridunFeridun HAMDULLAHPUR (ex-officio)

Feridun Hamdullahpur was appointed president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo on March 11, 2011. A professor of mechanical engineering, Dr. Hamdullahpur earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Istanbul, Turkey and his PhD in chemical engineering at the Technical University of Nova Scotia. Throughout his career spanning over 35 years, Dr. Hamdullahpur has been an active researcher in thermo-fluids and energy engineering, and a passionate teacher and an academic administrator. He has authored hundreds of scientific and academic publications and supervised more than 50 graduate students. He was named a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering in June, 2014. President Hamdullahpur’s central motivation is ensuring that the impact of University education, research and scholarship on our broader society is maximized through constant reform and innovation in the higher education sector. He is a leading advocate for the value of basic research and its relevance to educational excellence and economic prosperity. His current focus at the University of Waterloo is expanding its lead in innovation, building on the University’s long-standing and emerging strengths in co-operative education, research, entrepreneurship, and equity. Feridun is proud to serve as chair of the U15 group of Canada's research-intensive Universities, and serves as vice-chair of the Waterloo Global Science Initiative. In 2015 he was appointed chair of the new Leadership Council for Digital Infrastructure, an ambitious initiative to build a world leading digital infrastructure ecosystem for Canada. He is also proud to have been one of ten global University presidents appointed to the United Nation’s HeforShe Impact 10x10x10 campaign to engage boys and men in the cause of gender equity. In acknowledgement of President Hamdullahpur’s leadership in education and innovation, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in January, 2013.

picture of Thorsten HeinsThorsten HEINS (2013-2016; 2016-2019)

Co-founder and Managing Director of JASTadvisors partnership.
Thorsten Heins is a physicist and over the span of 30 years he built an international career in Telecommunications and Information Technology. He held various executive positions in companies in Germany, US, Israel and Canada.
He started the Central Research Laboratories of Siemens AG in Munich working on Semiconductor, defense electronic and communication research projects. Joining the Communications Group of Siemens Thorsten assumed various functional and leadership roles leading to CEO assignments. He later served as Group Chief Technology Officer and Executive Board Member including supervision of the Asia Pacific business and the Venture Capital Activities. He served as an elected advisor with the European Union Commission in Telecommunication and IT domain and as a director on various industry boards and start-up companies. Thorsten moved to Canada and joined Research in Motion (RIM) assuming responsibility for the Blackberry Hardware Products. Throughout his tenure with BlackBerry Thorsten assumed COO and shortly thereafter the CEO responsibility. Currently Thorsten is a Managing Director of JASTadvisors advising industry clients and corporations. Thorsten is a director of the Board of the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce supporting international businesses in both Canada and Germany and supporting bilateral political and economical areas of interest.

Picture of Ava HillAva HILL (2018-2019)

Ava Hill, Mohawk, Wolf Clan, was elected Chief of the 56th Elected Council of the Six Nations of the Grand River on November 16th, 2013.  She was elected to a second term as the Chief on November 19th, 2016.  Prior to her election as Chief, Chief Hill served three terms as a Councillor. Chief Hill was Six Nations representative as one of the Host First Nations for the 2015 Pan Am Games which were held in Toronto in July 2015, as well as the North American Indigenous Games, which were also held in Toronto in July 2017.  She has also been active on international files attending the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues for the past few years. Chief Hill has extensive experience working with many First Nations and Aboriginal organizations locally, regionally and nationally.  She served as the Executive Director of the Chiefs of Ontario Office, the Executive Assistant to a former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and the Executive Assistant to the Co-Chair of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.  Chief Hill currently represents the Chiefs of Ontario on the Ontario Provincial Government’s Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion. She has also dedicated many years as a member and volunteer for several agencies and committees both in major cities and in her home community. 

Picture of Russell HiscockRussell HISCOCK (2018-2021)

Russell has recently retired as the President and CEO of the CN Investment Division. The Division manages some $18 billion of assets for the Canadian National Railways Pension Trust Funds, one of the largest corporate pension plans in Canada. The pension fund is primarily internally managed and has significant investment exposure to all of the equity, fixed income, real return, real estate, infrastructure and private equity asset classes. In this role he was fully accountable to the CN Board of Directors for all aspects of the management and investment of the pension fund assets, including the associated risk management, and for providing related policy analysis and advice. Over his more than thirty-year career in institutional investment management, Russell has had many years of direct active equity portfolio management experience, in both the Canadian and International stock markets, as well as considerable private equity investment activity. He has testified on behalf of the pension investment community at both the House of Commons finance committee and the Senate finance committee. Mr. Hiscock is also an experienced operating executive having chaired both the Fund’s real estate and oil and gas companies. As the Division’s CEO, he was responsible for organisational and managerial leadership, strategic planning and human resource management. Russell has held numerous external corporate and not for profit board positions, including serving on several hospital foundation  and  industry association boards. He holds a Honours Co-Op Bachelor of Mathematics (1975) degree from the University of Waterloo, an MA (economics) from Western University and an MBA (finance) from the Rotman School at the University of Toronto. He has earned the CFA, CPA-CMA and ICD.D designations. Russell lives in Montreal, is married and has two grown sons.

PIcture of Dave Dave JAWORSKY (ex-officio)

At the City of Waterloo, Mayor Jaworsky serves on several citizen-led committees, including Age Friendly Waterloo, the Waterloo Economic Development Committee, and the Audit Committee. In the community, he serves on the Board of Governors of the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as the board of Waterloo North Hydro. He is also a councillor for the Region of Waterloo, overseeing region-wide initiatives such as transit, affordable housing, and health improvement and sits on the regional Public Art Advisory Committee. As a member of the Waterloo Region Municipal Resettlement Control Group, Mayor Jaworsky helped to guide the large-scale refugee resettlement which welcomed more than 1000 newcomers to our community. Mayor Jaworsky is a honourary member of the Rotary Club of Waterloo and an affiliate member of the Royal Canadian Legion. He is a leading advocate of active living. He encourages citizens and families in Waterloo to enjoy all that this city has to offer and frequently visits local schools, encouraging students to participate in the Council for a Day contest which involves Grade 5 students each year. Mayor Jaworsky is a firm believer in providing positive leadership to the community and does so in a variety of ways. In the past decade he has taken on a number of senior volunteer positions with a wide variety of organizations. He was a founding member of the FIRST Robotics Waterloo organizing committee that brought this inspirational high school competition to Waterloo. Mayor Jaworsky has made contributions to the community as a board or committee member for organizations such as KW Community Foundation, the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce, KidsAbility, Capacity Canada and Waterloo Minor Hockey Association. Mayor Jaworsky has lived in the community since graduating from the University of Waterloo in 1988. As a student, he chose University of Waterloo for its strong collaboration with the business community and its focus on co-op programs. Later in his career, the mayor supported that collaboration by contributing to the co-op partnership as an executive at BlackBerry. In his leadership role at BlackBerry, he created the Global Corporate Social Responsibility team, ensuring the company was viewed as a great corporate citizen. As Mayor of the City of Waterloo, he is committed to fostering prosperity and promoting our vibrant and caring community.

Sheryl Kennedy Sheryl KENNEDY (2017-2020)
Sheryl Kennedy is CEO of Promontory Financial Group Canada, an IBM Company, a global consulting firm providing strategy, risk management, and regulatory compliance advice and execution support to the financial services industry. Sheryl joined Promontory in 2009 after a 28-year career in federal public service, including serving as deputy governor of the Bank of Canada from 1994-2008. She was chair of the Canadian Foreign Exchange Committee and the Markets Committee at the Bank for International Settlements and served as senior adviser for international strategy on executive interchange to Scotiabank in Toronto in 2006. Sheryl was awarded the Women in Capital Markets Leadership Award in 2007. She previously worked for the Department of Finance of the government of Canada as general director of the financial sector policy branch. In addition to her work at Promontory, Sheryl is a director of the Canadian Public Accountability Board, which regulates the auditors of public companies, HIPPY Canada (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youth) and is a Trustee of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada Pension Plans. A graduate of University of Waterloo’s School of Urban and Regional Planning, Sheryl also has a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and studied finance at the London School of Economics.

John LoundsJohn LOUNDS (2013-2016; 2016-2019)

John Lounds is president & CEO of The Nature Conservancy of Canada. John’s passion for conservation and appreciation of nature was developed while growing up in rural Ontario and spending late summers at a family cottage. John then applied these interests at university, obtaining his undergraduate degree in environmental studies (urban and rural planning) from Waterloo and then a master’s degree in environmental studies from York University. Prior to joining NCC, John was the executive director of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists (now Ontario Nature) for six years. John also held, previous to that, several positions with the Government of Ontario including program director for the Ontario Round Table on Environment and Economy, management board analyst for the Ministries of Environment and Northern Development and Mines, and an energy conservation planner with the Ministry of Energy. John joined NCC as chief executive officer in October 1997. Through his leadership, NCC has further defined its unique role as an organization that works with individuals and groups across Canada that share its passion for land conservation, and utilizes creative means to achieve this goal. One of his first initiatives was to decentralize the organization, in part by establishing regional offices, to ensure a strong presence across the country. NCC has achieved great success, having grown from an annual budget of $8 million in 1997 to over $80 million in each of the past two years. In the process NCC has helped conserve more than 2,500,000 acres of ecologically significant lands across Canada since its inception. While NCC has accomplished a lot over the past decade, in John’s view “there is so much more to do”. John was previously a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee at the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, and has served as a director of the George Cedric Metcalfe Charitable Foundation, and on the Canadian Councils of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. Born in Brantford, Ontario and raised in Meaford, he enjoys outdoor pursuits, particularly canoeing, birding and cross-country skiing. He is also an avid traveller, having explored various parts of the world including Japan, India, Africa, Southeast Asia, South America and Australia. John is married to Ellen McRae, and has four step-children – Aimee, Scott, Ed and Melanie.

Picture of Tyler MarquesTyler MARQUES (2018-2019)

Tyler Marques is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Faculty of Science, studying Science and Business, Co-op. He has been active in the University of Waterloo community since his first term, helping to create a welcoming atmosphere for incoming students in the Faculty of Science. Since then Tyler has continued his work with Orientation as a leader, coordinator, and as a member of the 2016 Federation Orientation Committee. He currently serves as the Senator for the Faculty of Science, and sits on the University Committee for Student Appeals, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Science Board of Directors. Tyler is a passionate horticulturalist and programmer, with his work primarily focusing on Big Data and Machine Learning.

Picture of Daniel O'ConnorDaniel O'CONNOR (2018-2019)

Daniel O’Connor is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies at the University of Waterloo and member of the University of Waterloo Senate. Dr. O’Connor graduated with an undergraduate and Master’s degree in sociology from the University of Manitoba and a PhD in Sociology from Carleton University in Ottawa. Prior to joining the University of Waterloo in 2011, he worked as a senior research analyst for the Public Service Commission of Canada and held an Associate Professor position at the University of Windsor. His current research focuses on the intersections of law, governance, and security and the role of national and international agencies in security provision.  

Picture of Linda Ogechi-IhemeLinda OGECHI-IHEME (2018-2020)

Dr. Linda Iheme is a dentist and currently completing her graduate studies at School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo. Her research is focused on developing self-reported health assessment tools for older adults. She serves as youth representative to United Nations for an NGO; Strategy for Mentoring Initiative and Leadership Empowerment (S.M.I.L.E.). And co-founded a women empowerment focused NGO called She's a Model International. As a member of Senate and a member of Board of Governors, University of Waterloo, she is committed to representing the voice of domestic and international graduate students.

Willaim PristanskiWilliam PRISTANSKI (2015-2017; 2017-2020)

Mr. Pristanski left the government of Canada in 1991 to form Prospectus Associates, one of Canada’s leading government relations firms. Over the past two-and-a-half decades, he has become one of Canada’s most experienced and respected public affairs strategists. He advises many companies on building positive relationships with governments in Canada, both at the federal and provincial levels. Current clients include CAE, Ericsson, Garda, Resolute Forest Products, Sinopec Canada, Tata Consultancy Services, Walmart and the National Hockey League.  He has advised several global companies on the regulatory approval process for major acquisitions in Canada. Over the period of 1983 to 1991, Mr. Pristanski held several senior positions in the Government of Canada, including serving as executive assistant to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. His government experience spans central agencies (PMO and Treasury Board) and major line departments (Solicitor General and Environment). He holds an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics degree, Computer Science and Statistics majors, minor in Business Administration (1978).  He lived several terms at St. Paul’s University College where he continues to be involved in their fundraising initiatives.  In 2015, he received the St. Paul’s Distinguished Alumni Award.  From 1979 to 1981, he served as an alumni representative on the University of Waterloo Senate. Mr. Pristanski is the chairman of the Terry Fox Foundation.  Since 1981, he has run in all of the 35 annual Terry Fox Runs, personally raising more than half-a-million dollars for cancer research. In 2010 he was awarded one of twelve iRun Awards by iRun magazine for his 30 consecutive Terry Fox runs. In 1987 he was awarded the Canada 125 Medal. In 2012, he was the proud recipient of the Diamond Jubilee Medal created to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada.

Picture of Neil RandallNeil RANDALL (2018-2019)

Neil Randall (PhD, York, 1985) is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature, and since 2010 has been the Executive Director of The Games Institute (the GI), a University Research Centre at Waterloo ( With the GI, Randall has led the IMMERSe research network (Interactive and Multi-Modal Experience Research Syndicate) through the SSHRC Partnership Grant program, where six universities and multiple industry partners collaborate on research focused on games and rich interactive media from the standpoint of user experience and user interactions. He has also led numerous Mitacs-funded projects, linking graduate students with industry and non-profit partners, and two Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) grants, creating labs within the GI space. With the English department, Randall co-founded the Rhetoric and Professional Writing, Rhetoric and Communication Design, and Experimental Digital Media programs. He is especially interested in working on applications for immersive reality technologies with industry and government organizations to help people understand complex social, cultural, and scientific issues, and as such is working with partners focusing on virtual and augmented reality and serious games as innovative tools for cross-disciplinary and cross-sector knowledge mobilization.

John Saabas John SAABAS (2017-2020)

John Saabas was named President of Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) in January 2009. Mr. Saabas began his career at P&WC in 1985 as a Structures and Dynamics Analyst and subsequently occupied positions of increasing responsibility in engineering and operations. He was Project Engineer and Senior Project Engineer between 1993 and 1997 before taking on responsibilities as Director, New Operations Programs, and Manager, Manufacturing Engineering. In 1999, he was promoted to Vice President, Procurement and Logistics, and the following year, to Vice President, Engineering Development. In 2001, he took on the role of Vice President, Engineering, and in 2003 was appointed Senior Vice President, Engineering and Operations. He was named Executive Vice President in 2006 before being appointed President. Mr. Saabas earned a PhD in Aerodynamics from McGill University in 1991 and Masters and Bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1983 and 1984, respectively. Mr. Saabas is a member of the executive committee and board of directors of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) since 2010, and also served as Chairman of the Board, in 2011. He is also a member of the Waterloo University’s Engineering Dean’s Development Council and the McGill Faculty of Engineering’s advisory board. Since 2013, he is a member of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) Engineering Advisory Board. He is a licensed member of Professional Engineers Ontario. Additionally, Mr. Saabas has been a member of the McGill Executive Institute Advisory Board since 2015 and a member of the University of Waterloo’s Board of Governors since May 2017. In 2008, he was awarded an Alumni Achievement Medal by the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Engineering for his leadership and vision in leveraging innovation and research collaboration to advance the Canadian aerospace industry. In 2013, he received the CEO Sustainable Development award from the Quebec business publication Les Affaires for his visionary leadership.

Picture of James SchlegelJames SCHLEGEL (2016-2019)

James is President and CEO of Schlegel Health Care which includes Schlegel Villages and Homewood Health. Schlegel Villages develops and operates continuum of care campuses for seniors across Ontario which include long-term care, retirement, assisted living, memory care and independent apartments on each site. Homewood Health offers a full continuum of services to Canadians to meet the broad variety of needs in mental health and addiction and includes the nationally recognized Homewood Health Centre. He is also the CEO of RBJ Schlegel Holdings which, in addition to Schlegel Health Care, includes Schlegel Poultry and Schlegel Urban Development. James is Board member of the Research Institute for Aging, set up by the Schlegel family in 2005 to formalize a long standing relationship with the University of Waterloo and Conestoga College. The mission of the RIA is to enhance care and quality of life for older adults through partnerships in research, education and practice. Schlegel Villages are R & D sites for researchers, the results of which are applied within the village as well as disseminated to the broader sector. These results also inform curriculum development to enhance the training of future health care workers in Ontario. Over the last two years there have been 77 research programs initiated at 11 Schlegel Villages. There are many other community involvements to which James offers his personal time including serving as a Board member for Grand River Hospital and serving on the International Board for Mennonite Economic Development Associates. James graduated from the Master of Accounting program at the University of Waterloo where he obtained his CA designation in 1992.

Mark Seasons Mark SEASONS (2017-2019)

Mark Seasons is a professor with the School of Planning in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, which he joined in 1998. Mark’s education includes a PhD (regional planning) from the University of Waterloo and a Master’s degree in Environmental Design (planning) from the University of Calgary. He is a Fellow, Canadian Institute of Planners and he is a Registered Professional Planner (OPPI). Mark’s research interests include plan evaluation, downtown revitalization, planning for climate change, and managing slow-growth cities. Prior to joining the University of Waterloo, Mark had an extensive career as a professional urban and regional planner in the public sector, with planning positions at the City of Calgary, the New Zealand federal government, the Province of Ontario, and the National Capital Commission. Mark is a member of the University Senate.

Picture of Ken SeilingKen SEILING (ex-officio)

Ken Seiling is a lifelong resident of Elmira. Ken was first elected as the regional chair in 1985 after serving as Mayor and Councillor in Woolwich Township. He is now serving his tenth term as Regional Chair. Prior to becoming Regional Chair, Ken was a high school teacher and a museum director. He is also the longest serving member of the Board of Governors.  Ken and his wife Kathryn have five children and nine grandchildren. He is a history buff and church musician.

Picture of Jeremy StefflerJeremy STEFFLER (2015-2018;2018-2021)

Jeremy Steffler is a Faculty Relations Manager in the Co-operative Education and Career Action department, Where he is responsible for supporting the Faculty of Mathematics and managing the entrepreneurship and research centre/institutes portfolios. A Waterloo graduate (BASc, 1999 & MACSc, 202), Jeremy is a licensed professional engineer who worked in environment engineering consulting before returning to Waterloo full-time in 2004. Jeremy is a life-long resident of Waterloo Region and is actively involved in both the on an doff-campus communities. He has served as a director for the University of Waterloo Staff Association (2010-2014) and developed (and continues to facilitate) the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity component of Waterloo's Award-Winning Principles of Inclusivity series of Workshops. He is a mediator with Community Justice Initiatives and an instructor for the Certificate in Conflict Management and Mediation program at Conrad Grebel University College. Jeremy is Currently Chair of the Waterloo Region Rainbow Coalition and Co-Chair of the Rainbow Community Council. Jeremy has been recognized for his leadership in promoting diversity and inclusion in Waterloo Region, as recipient of both the Waterloo Region Record Top 40 under 40 award and the University of Waterloo Faculty Association Status of Woment and Equity Committee's Equity & Inclusivity Award.

John Swainson John SWAINSON (2017-2019)
John Swainson has had a long career as a software executive and corporate director. An engineering graduate of the University of British Columbia, he worked at IBM for 26 years in Canada and the US, where he was responsible for the largest software division in the company, following which he spent 5 years as the CEO of CA Technologies and recently retired as the president of Dell's Software Group.  He currently sits on a number of corporate boards, including Visa Inc, Midis Group and AllClearID and is actively involved with a number of technology startups and privately owned companies. He recently completed a 6 year term as a member of the National Academies of Science and Engineering's Computer Science and Telecommunications board. 

Picture of Maya VentersMaya VENTERS (2018-2020)

Maya is a third-year student from the Faculty of Arts. She is majoring in English Literature and Rhetoric, and is interested in the intersection of literature, poetry, visual art, and art history. Maya has held numerous leadership positions throughout her time on campus. She volunteered at
St. Jerome’s University as a Student Ambassador, Frosh Week leader, and a Minka Conference Coordinator, while also serving as Academic Affairs Liaison and Human Resources Officer for the SJU Students’ Union. In 2017-2018, she was Academic Affairs Commissioner at the Federation of Students. She represented undergraduate students on several University committees and was Feds’ resident expert in academic policy and regulations. Maya formalized Feds’ Centre for Academic Policy Support, a service which provides direction and support to students initiating or implicated in petitions, grievance, appeals and discipline processes. Maya spends her spare time volunteering at KidsAbility and working with various initiatives to help international students integrate into our campus community. Maya also attended the International Monetary Fund meetings as a CSO delegate last spring, and is currently a Residence Life Don on campus and the student Senator for the Faculty of Arts.

Picure of Berry VBerry VRBANOVIC (ex-officio)

Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic was born in Zagreb, Croatia, and understands the challenges of immigrant families and the issues facing the thousands of Canadians making Kitchener their new home. Berry attended St. Jerome's High School and is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier Univeristy with a BA in political science and a diploma in business administration. Berry's outgoing and personable style has contributed to his election to serve as a councillor for six consecutive terms of council, from 1994-2014. During this time, Berry's commitment to his constituents resulted in the fire station at Ottawa Street and River Road, the Grand River-Stanley Park branch of the Kitchener Public Library and the Stanley Park Community Centre. He co-founded the Chicopee Outreach Program (COPS), a unique mentoring program linking at-risk youth with police, fire and community mentors. Prior to becoming a city councillor, Berry worked in the city's clerk's office and the information technology division. In 2014, Berry ran for the elected office of mayor and with an outpouring of community support was successful. He is committed to improving the quality of life for residents in Kitchener and throughout the Region of Waterloo. In addition to serving on all regular standing committees of Kitchener city council, Berry is also an appointee and active participant on many boards and committees, including the Mayor's Advisory Council for Kitchener Seniors (MACKS), Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro Inc. Board of Directors, University of Waterloo Board of Governors, Kitchener Housing Inc. Board of Directors, Centre in the Square Board of Management, Grand River Hospital Board of Directors and Downtown Kitchener BIA Board of Directors. Berry is Deputy Treasurer of United Cities & Local Governments and is President Emeritus (2011-2012) of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. As a member of Regional Council, Berry sits on all three standing committees of Council as well as the Economic Development & Promotion Committee, Public Art Advisory Committee, Grand River Hospital Board of Trustees, and the Victoria Transit Hub Steering Committee.

Kate WindsorKate WINDSOR (2014-2017; 2017-2020)

Kate Windsor holds an honours co-op Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo (1997). She is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) and has worked at the University of Waterloo since 2006, taking on the role of Director of Safety in 2013. In this role, she is responsible for the comprehensive delivery of health, safety and environmental program services to the University’s staff, faculty and students. Kate has also been an adjunct lecturer in the Human Resources Management program in the Faculty of Arts. She has been active in regional and conference committees of the Ontario Kinesiology Association and has been a member of the Waterloo Region Assembly of Public School Councils. Kate resides in Waterloo with her husband Josh and their two children.

Picture of Richard WuRichard WU (2018-2020)

Richard Wu is the current President of the Federation of Students and a candidate for a Bachelor of Science with minors in Chemistry and Medical Physiology. Prior to this, Richard was heavily involved on campus as a volunteer with the Women’s Centre, as an Advanced Medical First Responder with the UW Campus Response Team, and as a leader and Team Lead with Feds Orientation. Through these experiences, he was able to develop a deepened understanding of the nuances and complexities of life on campus from the perspective of an undergraduate student. As the President of the Federation of Students, some of his responsibilities include representing and advocating for nearly 32,000 undergraduate students on various University governance bodies, overseeing student governance at the Federation of Students, and serving on committees working on issues important to undergraduates, including student mental health, and sexual violence response and prevention