Meet Our Team
Our goal is to make the Innovation Centre feel like a member of your team. We have a variety of backgrounds, educations, and experiences which lets us bring perspective and diversity to your business. We also like to have a little bit of fun while we're at it!
Judy Sander, Manager
When Judy isn't cross-country skiing, canoeing, or enjoying time spent with her family, she is managing the Innovation Centre. Judy provides overall leadership and reports to our volunteer Board of Directors. For the past 15 years, Judy has been supporting the growth of many unique businesses. She helps with developing the market strategy, obtaining funding, making connections, finding advisors and coordinating the team. Judy knows from experience that being a business owner is challenging, she believes that the right support can make it easier to achieve success.
James Ellard, Marketing and Branding Specialist
James has been working on the Innovation Centre's and clients marketing and branding efforts for the last 8 years. He also manages the ICT infastructure digital economy projects. Recently, James graduated from Lakehead University's MBA program on a part-time bases during his spare time.
Kendall Kerbashian, Community Initiatives Officer
Kendall is responsible for meeting with clients who are looking to establish and/or expand their business through innovation, as well as developing community partnerships, innovative projects, and educational programs in Northwestern Ontario. She has a strong focus on youth entrepreneurship and social enterprises.
Melissa McClement, Special Events & Programing
Working with the Centre for over 12 years, Melissa is responsible for implementing and promoting the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre’s events, developing innovative programs such as Bizkids, and driving adoption for the Centre’s many events and offerings. In addition, Melissa is a marketing resource for the Centre’s clients and works directly with clients to address their marketing needs.
Alan Auld, ICT Advisor
Alan has worked in the IT industry for over 15 years staying up to date with the latest technologies. He posesses a degree in Business Administration from Lakehead University and was a lecturer in the faculty of business immediately after graduation. Fun fact: he is also a former radio and television broadcaster here in Thunder Bay.
Torin Bergagnini, Business Adviser
Torin is a recent graduate of Lakehead University through their business program majoring in Marketing with a minor in Human Resources. At the office, Torin takes on many tasks from market research to anything else that lands on his desk.
Nicole Reid, Senior Business Development Advisor
An entrepreneur herself and the inventor of YULEY’s Protective Footwear, Nicole spends her time at the Innovation Centre providing business support to new and established companies, reaching out to the local business community, developing partnerships with and engaging entrepreneurs and senior executives, and developing and implementing strategies and initiatives to facilitate business growth in Northwestern Ontario.
Tania Couture, Office Manager
As office manager Tania is responsible for assisting the team wherever she can, especially in the day to day operations of the Centre, and excited to support her fellow staff and the Innovation Centre clients. As a recent transplant to Thunder Bay, when Tania is not at the office she is exploring and getting to know this beautiful city and its people.