Venture for Canada (VFC) is excited to announce its third annual Fellowship Alumni Council. Going into its third year of operations, the Fellowship Alumni Council oversees the Alumni network, community initiatives, Alumni participation in VFC programs, and the Alumni Summit. Additionally, the Alumni Council provides strategic input and feedback to the Venture for Canada programs and strategic partnerships teams.
The 2021-2022 Council has seven members who co-create programming and initiatives for the growing VFC Fellowship community of over 280 young professionals across Canada.
The VFC Alumni Council is an application-based volunteer advisory body for the Venture for Canada’s Fellowship program. The primary goal of the Alumni Council is to plan and organize VFC’s Alumni Summit, an event to spark innovation and foster new relationships.
This year, with input from the 2020-2021 Council Members, the Council has created new seats, including a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director, held by Annika Lui (she/they), Incoming Chair role held by Alexandra (Alex) Baccelierri (she/they). Annika and Alex are continuing to their second year of tenure. The role of Programming Director will continue to be held by Andrew Kim (he/him), who is also serving for a second year. Micha Saade (she/her) will hold the role of Entrepreneurship Liaison as an advisor and mentor to Fellows who are founding businesses. These role changes and additional roles are putting an emphasis on support Fellows to leverage their skills and experiences to become founders, investors, and community leaders.
Samuel (Sam) Daviau (he/him), who has been a critical member of VFC’s Council serving his final of three years as Outgoing Chair, comments, “My involvement with VFC has helped me grow as an individual, and as a professional and the fellow community forms the backbone of my network.” Sam continues, “being on the council allows me to further promote and develop the organization, and helps create a stronger foundation for VFC to continue to positively affect more people’s lives as it’s affected me.”
We are pleased to welcome three new members. Kathleen (Katie) Eva (she/her) is joining in a newly formed role as Alumni Angel Investor Programming Director, Christoph Fischer(he/him) joins as the Alumni Events Director, and Connor Frankenberger (he/him) joins as the Online Community Director.
“Alumni of the Fellowship program are leaders across the Canadian startup and innovation ecosystem. They bring invaluable insights to the organization while activating the potential of each previous VFC Fellowship Cohort,” said Juanita Lee-Garcia, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Marketing at VFC, who has overseen the Alumni community since 2018. “Collectively, the members are dedicated to the success of the community as a whole. They bring unique experiences and outlooks and are all passionate about fostering innovation, new relationships. We’re lucky to have committed Alumni who have a sense of ownership over the future of the program.”
The VFC Alumni Council collectively volunteers over 200+ hours on an annual basis. Council members serve on one, two and three years terms. This year the Council members are based across Canada.
You can learn more about the council members on our website.
About our Alumni Council Members
Alex is a 2018 Venture for Canada Fellow and the Incoming Chair of the Alumni Council. Alex works at Viafoura as a Business Development Manager, overseeing a team of BDRs. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. Alex’s passions revolve around equality, philanthropy, and being involved in the LGBTQ+ community. As such, aside from this role with VFC, she is the Programming Lead for Gradient Spaces. Outside of work, Alex loves to read, cook, and try new workout classes.
Andrew Kim is a 2015 Venture for Canada Fellow and the Head of Network Growth at PartnerStack. In his professional capacity, he is responsible for building and scaling a marketplace that helps to connect partners with the right partnership programs to drive mutual success on both sides of the business. Andrew is a graduate of Queen’s University, where he majored in Commerce, and when he is not in the office, you can find him on his next travel adventure, spending time with friends and family, or playing soccer.
Annika Lui (she/they) lives on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam people (rainy and lush-green Vancouver). When you don’t see her meticulously planning her next adventure (she’s been to 43 countries and counting!) sipping a dirty chai in a coffee shop or wandering art galleries, you will find her somewhere in the startup community. She spends her week serving as the Acceleration Programs Director at the League of Innovators empowering the next generation of Canada’s entrepreneurs, change-makers and innovators by shortening their path to success. Graduated from Western University’s Ivey Business School with a dual degree in Business Administration and Global Culture Studies, and Venture for Canada 2018 Fellow, she’s a nerd for the intersection of business and sustainable development. Most recently, they have become a Certified Life Coach from Rhodes Wellness College while preparing to self-publish their first poetry book. (edited)
Christoph Fischer is a 2018 Venture for Canada Fellow and the Alumni Events Director for the Alumni Council. He works in Toronto at Compass Digital Labs as a Project Manager where he combines his passion for Data Analytics and “bringing structure into chaos” with his hospitality background as a chef/bartender. Christoph holds two master’s degrees in International Business (Queen’s University) and Strategy, Innovation, and Management Control (Vienna University of Economics and Business) respectively. He’s a passionate snowboarder, scuba diver, and wakeboarder and has a soft spot for rescue dogs. He is involved with dog and cat rescue organizations in Toronto, so please reach out to him if you are interested in fostering/adopting a pet, discussing exciting VFC Alumni Initiatives, or if you have questions about how to mix a mean gin and soda.
Connor Frankenberger is a 2019 Venture for Canada Fellow taking on the role of Community Manager for the Alumni Council. He is currently putting his Simon Fraser University Business Degree with a specialization in entrepreneurship to use as a Senior Account Manager at Riipen. When not at Riipen trying to create work-integrated learning opportunities for students, Connor can likely be found watching films, roughing opponents up in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or expanding his fluency in foreign languages. Reach out to him via LinkedIn and start a conversation if you’d like to learn more about VFC Alumni initiatives!
Katheleen Eva is an investor at StandUp Ventures, an institutionally-backed $51M Toronto-based seed-stage fund that invests in Women-Led companies. Prior to joining StandUp, Katheleen was engrossed in the startup world, first leading marketing and product growth at CareGuide, and second joining early-stage fertility start-up Lilia. Katheleen’s passion for startups started while studying Psychology and Neuroscience at McMaster University when she founded her first ‘startup’ that analyzed lifestyle factors to promote better health. After spending time in San Francisco for YCombinator and learning more deeply about the fundraising process, Katheleen made the leap into investing.
Sam Daviau is a 2015 Venture For Canada Fellow and has been a chair of the Venture For Canada Alumni Council for the past three years. Professionally, Sam left his position as the VP of Operation at Statflo in June 2021 where he lead HR, enterprise onboarding, customer analytics and worked with Statflo’s various partners. As a member of the executive team, he grew with the company over the past six years as it scaled from 5 to 85 people through three rounds of venture funding. Sam is currently a Founder-in-Residence at Entrepreneur First and beginning his entrepreneurial journey. He is a graduate of McGill with a double major in Finance and Accounting. Outside of work, he is a co-founder of the Lay-Up Youth Basketball charity and a board member of the Muskoka Lakes Association. In the summer of 2021, he went hiking and canoeing across Ontario and Atlantic Canada.