Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande is the President and Chairman of Sparta Group LLC, a family investment office and is also the Chairman of Tejas Networks. Dr. Deshpande has pursued an entrepreneurial career for the last three decades. He is involved either as the founder, a founding investor or chairman of several companies including Cascade Communications, Sycamore Networks, Coral Networks, Tejas Networks, Cimaron, Webdialogs, Airvana, Sandstone Capital, A123 Systems and Curata. Dr. Deshpande lives in Boston and serves as a life member of the MIT Corporation, and his support has made possible MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. Leveraging the experience gained at the MIT Center, the Deshpande Foundation has facilitated the set up of three other centers; Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship in India, Merrimack Valley Sandbox in Lowell/Lawrence Massachusetts and Pond-Deshpande Center at the University of New Brunswick in Canada.
Dr. Deshpande holds a B. Tech. in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras, an M.E. from the University of New Brunswick in Canada, and Ph.D. from Queens University in Canada.
Deshpande co-chaired a National Council to support President Obama’s innovation and entrepreneurship strategy.
Jaishree Deshpande is the Treasurer of Sparta Group LLC, and a founder of the Deshpande Foundation. The Deshpande Foundation fosters social entrepreneurship by supporting a variety of non-profit organizations in India working in the areas of health, education, microcredit and agriculture. Jaishree and her husband supported the founding of The Deshpande Center at the MIT School of Engineering in 2002 to increase the impact of MIT technologies in the marketplace. She currently serves as a Trustee for the Museum of Science and is involved with HESTIA Fund – a fund established to support quality after school programming for low-income children. Jaishree Deshpande worked for the Indian Space Research Organization in Bangalore, India until 1980 before moving to Canada. She worked for several Massachusetts companies and taught courses in computer science. She received a Master of Science in Physics in 1975 from the Indian Institute of Technologies (IIT), Madras, India. She also received a Master in Computer Science in 1989 from Boston University.
Gerry Pond has over 45 years of in-depth experience in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.
Gerry Pond has over 45 years of in-depth experience in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. As the CEO of NBTel and the President of its successor, Aliant Telecom, he was at the helm during a period of significant deregulation in the Canadian industry. Under his innovative leadership, NBTel emerged as an international ICT leader. Born in Quebec and raised in New Brunswick, Gerry Pond’s educational achievements include a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Brunswick; Organizational Effectiveness Program, Harvard University; Executive Program, McGill University; and Senior Executive’s Program, University of Western Ontario.
Pond is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Mariner Partners Inc., and has co-founded a number of successful ICT start-ups in Atlantic Canada, including iMagicTV, Q1 Labs, Brovada Technologies, Radian6, Shift Energy and Cirrus9. He is also the Co-Founder of Propel ICT, a start-up accelerator, the Co-Founder of the Pond-Deshpande Centre at the University of New Brunswick, and the Co-Founder and Chairman of East Valley Ventures, an incubator for Atlantic Canadian start-up companies with a mission of helping passionate entrepreneurs launch meaningful and enduring technology companies.
Gerry Pond has received many honours, both regionally and nationally, including the prestigious1997 Canadian Information Productivity Association (CIPA) Innovator of the Year and Hall of Fame, the NB Knowledge Industry Recognition and Achievement (KIRA) Awards Person of the Year in 2002, the 2003 Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEO Award in Atlantic Canada in 2003 and 2005, an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of New Brunswick, and an Honorary Doctor of Commerce from Saint Mary’s University. For his tireless contribution to regional economic development, he was inducted into the New Brunswick Business Hall of Fame in October 2007.
An inspiring innovator and social entrepreneur, Gerry Pond also earned recognition as 2011 Canadian Angel of the Year from Techvibes & KPMG. In 2012, he received the 2012 Red Cross Humanitarian Award for New Brunswick. He was twice honoured in 2013, first by The Learning Partnership as a Champion of Public Education, and then as the recipient of the Order of New Brunswick for his innovative spirit and critical contribution to many of New Brunswick’s IT and telecommunications success stories. At the 2014 Canadian Startup Awards, Gerry Pond’s passion for supporting innovation and entrepreneurship was recognized with the prestigious WolfBlass Lifetime Achievement Award.
He was awarded the first-ever Business Development Bank of Canada Entrepreneurship Champion – a national award that recognizes the achievement of a Canadian entrepreneur and community leader who has created and grown one or many successful small or medium-sized businesses while significantly contributing to the prosperity of the Canadian entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Most recently, Gerry was appointed to the Order of Canada.
As Executive Director at the Deshpande Foundation, Raj develops overall strategy and channels the Foundation’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. He helped launch the Pond Deshpande Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of New Brunswick in Canada and has driven overall direction for the Merrimack Valley Sandbox initiative at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Previously as Principal at Ambient Engines, Raj Melville provided marketing and strategy consulting to emerging social entrepreneurs. He founded the annual Forum for Social Entrepreneurs, organized and moderated numerous panels and workshops on social entrepreneurship, and currently mentors several startups focused on addressing key social issues. Raj has over 25 years of product management, marketing and consulting experience including managing overall product strategy and features as Vice President, Product Management for nTAG Interactive, a spin-off from the MIT Media Lab. As V.P. Product Management and Marketing, and later V.P Client Services, at mobile software vendor Vaultus, another MIT spinoff, (now part of Antenna Software) he provided marketing, product management and client services direction. Prior to that, he was Sr. Director, Product Management at Be Free Inc. (now Valueclick), a market-leading affiliate marketing ad server and e-commerce solution. Earlier he managed the launch of two high-end Internet server products at Electronic Book Technologies (later acquired by Inso). His early career included working at Microsoft Corp., Digital Equipment Corporation, and Booz Allen & Hamilton. He is an active member of TiE Boston and the India Society of Worcester and co-founded the TIE Social Entrepreneurship Group. He has been a mentor and judges for several entrepreneurial competitions such as MassChallenge, MIT 100K, and the MIT IDEAS competition. Raj has a Doctor of Science in engineering from MIT focusing on optimizing the operation of computerized manufacturing systems; a Master’s from MIT’s Sloan School; and a Bachelor’s from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.
Dr. Paul Mazerolle is the 19th president and vice-chancellor of the University of New Brunswick.
Prior to his appointment in July 2019, Dr. Mazerolle was previously the pro vice chancellor (arts, education and law, 2009-2019), campus provost for Mount Gravatt campus (2009-2019), director of the Violence Research and Prevention program (2006-2019), and director of the Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance (2007-2009) at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. He was also director of Research and Prevention at the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (2002-2005) and head of the criminology program at the University of Queensland (2000-2006).
Dr. Mazerolle received his bachelor of arts degree in sociology from the University of New Brunswick (1989), his master of science in criminal justice from Northeastern University (1990), and his PhD in criminology from the University of Maryland at College Park (1995).
Dr. Mazerolle has led and participated in several major initiatives. While at Griffith, he chaired the university-wide Safe Campus Taskforce and chaired the sub-committee on Changing Attitudes and Behaviour regarding Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault. Since 2014, Dr. Mazerolle led and chaired the Griffith Integrity 20 program.
Dr. Mazerolle was a member of the Premier’s Youth Violence Taskforce and the Seniors Taskforce in Queensland, Australia. He was also Board Chair and Director at Open Minds, a leading non-government organization addressing mental illness and disability.
Dr. Mazerolle is a past editor of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology and is the founding co-editor (with Tara McGee) of the Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology.
An active scholar in criminology, Dr. Mazerolle has led several funded research projects. His research examines processes that shape offending behaviour across the life-course. His primary focus is in building knowledge on violence to inform theories, advance understanding, and improve policy and practices to reduce or prevent violence.
Paul is a proud native of New Brunswick, having grown up in Fredericton. He returns with his wife Amanda, and their two border collies, Maya and Gaby, to enjoy the four seasons.
Katie Davey joined the Pond-Deshpande Centre as Executive Director in November 2022.
She is a public policy entrepreneur working at the intersection of our biggest social and economic challenges. She uses creative and innovative solutions to improve or solve existing policy, program, and system challenges, specifically those challenges that create inequalities and impact the most vulnerable people in our world. Her goal is to redesign our systems to create a more inclusive future for all.
As a Financial and Funding Assistant, Sarah has been a key team member with the Pond-Deshpande Centre since 2016 and is responsible for managing the operations of the organization. In this position, Sarah works closely with all members of the team and is the primary contact for UNB related duties. Sarah is also responsible for managing contracts & payments, financial databases, assisting with projects, coordinating various meetings and workshops, and providing administrative support.
In 2006, Sarah immigrated to Canada from Great Britain leaving behind a full-time position with Abbott Laboratories, which she feels was a very rewarding decision.
Prior to joining the PDC team, Sarah gained most of her Interpersonal and Customer service skills from working at a dental clinic as a Continuing Care Coordinator/Senior Dental Receptionist for 7 years. Her strong sense of empathy creates bonds with people and helps her identify their needs quickly.
Sarah is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and quiet introverts. Quietly working on unlearning thousands of years of conditioning. She also enjoys disappearing into a good book or living vicariously through explorers on worldly, historical or legendary myth expeditions. Proud wife & mama to a wonderfully compassionate daughter.
Vanessa Paesani helps social purpose organizations gain strategic clarity to deliver on their missions. Her career is rooted in science and education that she applies in organizations. Her background in science gives her a deep understanding of how to build hypotheses and experiments, and measure outcomes. Her background in education and executive coaching reminds her that nothing is possible without people.
Vanessa’s specialties are helping you get clear on your mandate, defining projects within your overall mission/organization, bolstering social enterprise practices, and finding ways to monitor and measure impact. She is a certified executive coach, certified teacher, completed certification in non-profit financial stewardship at the Harvard Kennedy School, certification in sales through MDBi.
Vanessa’s focus in NouVentures is facilitating social purpose organizations to take their impact to the next level – either through strategy, governance, or finance.
Rebecca is a problem solver, an idea generator, and an unyielding optimist committed to understanding the underlying ‘why’ behind complex problems. Leveraging her multifaceted background in marketing, entrepreneurship, strategic human resources, and innovation, Rebecca approaches today’s most pressing and complex social issues with a unique perspective. Through a human-centered approach, she collaborates to craft sustainable and empathetic solutions with, not for, those most impacted by the work.
In her role as Innovation and Talent Consultant at the Government of New Brunswick, Rebecca spearheaded large scale transformation initiatives that fundamentally reshaped talent acquisition across the organization. At the heart of these transformations was a steadfast commitment to honoring individual experiences, breaking down barriers, and creating opportunities that genuinely opened doors for people, recognizing and celebrating the diverse paths that brought them there.
Rebecca brings not just her rich experience but also her innovative spirit and creative energy into every venture. Her knack for unraveling complex problems and strategizing from a fresh, human-centric viewpoint, along with her proven track record of not just setting strategies but also steering them to successful implementation while adapting as necessary, makes her a dynamic force in any team. Ready to build, learn, and pivot along the way, Rebecca is eager to continue crafting solutions that resonate on a deep, humane level, and can’t wait to embark on this new journey, carrying the drive to create meaningful, lasting change.
A proud Acadian, Vincent-Luc Brouillard is an entrepreneur and social innovator who is known for his problem-solving skills, engagement and his resourcefulness.
In 2020, he started his company, VLB Consultation where his mission is to Create and Disrupt. He offers a variety of professional and bilingual services such as facilitation, workshops, and various business advice.
Through his work, Vincent-Luc hopes to help various organizations to find meaningful solutions in a holistic way. Businesses, governments, nonprofits, and various community organizations have worked and benefited from the help and support of Vincent-Luc’s expertise and approach.
Nick Scott has been practicing social innovation since the early 2000’s and has been leading transformational change in the public sector since 2012.
Most recently, he worked for the Government of Canada as the Director of Innovation Services at the Canada School for Public Service’s Digital Academy. In this role, Nick led the Digital Accelerator Programme, Experimentation, Digital Products, and Events and Engagement.
Formerly, Nick worked at the Government of New Brunswick as Executive Director of Open Government and Innovation. In this role, he led Innovation and Design Services, established an Innovation Team, a collaborative workspace and a public innovation framework, facilitating initiatives addressing mobility, literacy, second language acquisition, natural resource development, municipal reform, and child protection.
Previously in his role as Executive Director of the NB Social Policy Research Network, Nick launched the GovMaker Conference to explore the theory and practice of public innovation and co-founded NouLAB; a public and social innovation lab facilitating collaborative problem-solving across sectors.
Nick is part-time lecturer at the University of New Brunswick where he teaches Technology and Social Change, and Leadership for Social Innovation.
In the Middle East Nick has served as jury member in Dubai for the Dubai Model Centre and Hamdan Hub service innovation awards programme since 2017 and most recently as a Government CX assessor for the Abu Dhabi Executive Office.
University of New Brunswick
Renaissance College – Carriage House
811 Charlotte Street
P.O. Box 4400
Fredericton, New Brunswick
Canada, E3B 5A3
at the University of New Brunswick