2022: Shawn Abbott – Co-Founder, Innovia Capital
Shawn co-founded Inovia Capital in 2007 alongside Chris Arsenault, after spending more than 25 years
as a successful founder and executive. He serves as a director on the boards of Top Hat, Certn, and
Bench, and works closely with leadership at Photonic, Vital, Symend and other portfolio companies.
Shawn is an active coach and mentor to several entrepreneurs in the tech ecosystem. He was founding
Chair of the Alberta 100 Tech Entrepreneurs and played an important role in re-launching the VCAA.
Prior to Inovia, Shawn was the President of publicly traded security powerhouse Rainbow Technologies.
He holds the first patent as an inventor of the USB key, and multiple other patents in online banking and
Shawn has a Physics degree from the University of Alberta and performed post-graduate studies at the
University of Calgary and Stanford. He is an outdoor enthusiast, and an active airplane and helicopter
2021: Jeff Sandquist – Microsoft Corporation
Jeff Sandquist is a Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, running a global team of product leaders, advocates, and engineers spanning 23 countries, on a mission to empower technologists around the world to achieve more. Jeff’s team is responsible for delivering key products such as Azure.com, developer.microsoft.com, and the company skilling platform (Microsoft Learn, Learn TV, docs.microsoft.com). The organization focuses on driving the discovery, awareness, and adoption of the Microsoft ecosystem of products and services through communities, products, programs, advocacy, content, and events.
Jeff has previously spent more than 16 years at Microsoft, before joining Twitter to drive their Developer & Enterprise team in 2013. He came back to Microsoft in 2015 and became a Corporate Vice President in 2019.
2020: Janet Podleski
Author: # 1 National bestselling cookbooks - The Looneyspoons and others
Host : Food Network Canada TV show – Eat. Shrink & Be Merry!
2013: John Stanton
Founder/CEO- Running Room
Author of 10 books on running and walking
2012: Kavis Reed
Head Coach, Edmonton Eskimos
2011: Arlene Dickinson
CEO - Venture Communications
Co-star -Dragons' Den
2008: Brett Wilson
Three Season Panelist: Dragons' Den