WHO WE ARE

IAC Team

Meet IAC’s team of experts and professionals, working across Canada.

Mike McLean, CEO

Focus: Overseeing operations and the roll-out and implementation of IAC’s programs and promoting IAC nationally and internationally.

Background: Mike is a leader in the IP and Patent Strategy market who brings over 25 years of technical strength and global expertise in IP. Before becoming CEO, Mike worked with IAC as VP, Operations.

Fun fact: Mike enjoys sports and coaching youth basketball and baseball.

Erin Pisko, VP, IP Strategy

Focus: Providing strategic leadership centered on innovation strategy to member companies with the objective of building intellectual property (IP) roadmaps aligned with business objectives and an IP literate workforce.

Background: Erin is a registered patent agent with decades of experience working both in-house, building out ecosystems for innovation and at top-tier Canadian law firms, assisting companies from diverse industries in building/transforming their innovation strategy. Erin holds Master and Bachelor degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Fun Fact: Erin loves winter and is passionate about cross-country skiing, hockey and sledding.  She was a nationally ranked cross-country skier and competed across Canada as well as in several European World Cups.  These days Erin is all about pleasure skiing and exploring the vast array of trail systems in and around Calgary.

Lori DeGraw, VP, Partnerships and Member Engagement

Focus: Demonstrating the value of IAC for Canadian SMEs in the data driven cleantech sector and other interested strategic partners to create success for all.

Background: Lori is an experienced Executive and Board Director dedicated to supporting Canadian success stories. She has worked as part of executive management teams responsible for business growth, partnerships, technology innovation, and sector development.

Fun fact: Lori used the pandemic lockdown period as inspiration to train for her first half marathon, which she completed on January 2, 2021. While she looks forward to running in a real half marathon event someday, the virtual experience was still fun and a good way to shake things up in the days at home.

Maggie Fairs, Director of Communications

Focus: Managing all communications activities for IAC, internally and externally, demonstrating the value and importance of IAC to key stakeholders, partners and members and raising the profile of the organization among key audiences.

Background: Maggie is a senior communications professional with more than 20 years of global integrated communications experience working in the U.S. and the U.K and across Canada.

Fun Fact: Maggie is avid supporter of arts & culture. She writes a weekly blog called Plum Viewing, which highlights arts events online and in-person and she will happily help with all your arts and culture needs.

Sharon Ho, IP Lawyer & Commercial Counsel

Focus: As IP lawyer and commercial counsel, Sharon provides strategic and practical solutions and risk assessments for IAC operations and facilitates all IP and commercial transactions at IAC.

Background:  In addition to being lawyer, Sharon is also a patent agent and trademark agent. Sharon has over 15 years of professional experience in all areas of IP, from front-end IP protection and strategy development to IP-related corporate transactions and litigation, in a wide range of industries, including high-tech, pharmaceutical, and energy. Prior to her legal career, Sharon earned a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from UBC and worked in R&D in the telecommunications sector.  

Fun fact: Sharon enjoys learning about different cultures and has lived in several cities in Canada, Asia, and Europe.

Veronique Page, VP, IP Transactions & Analytics

Focus: Contributing to IACs IP services, including the IP Intelligence and the FTO (Freedom-to-Operate) product streams.  This involves delivering a patent purchase and licensing program that will maximize value for our members, Canadian SMEs in the Clean-Tech space.

Background: Veronique graduated from McGill University with a Master’s in Electrical Engineering. She is a Registered Canadian Patent Agent with 15 years of experience in a variety of IP-related roles: from patent agency work to patent licensing and acquisition for a non-practicing entity. She brings a unique perspective on patent portfolio development and monetization.

Fun fact:  In her free time, Veronique enjoys swimming, painting and playing piano. Her art is somewhat influenced by her many travels, with a predilection for Gaudi’s architecture.

Arushi Sharma, Senior Program Manager, IP Intelligence

Focus: Arushi has joined the IAC team to lead the development of IAC’s IP Intelligence Database, which includes building datasets related to data-driven cleantech market sectors and technologies. Additionally, Arushi will perform patent landscape analysis, portfolio and patent reviews, and build reports.

Background: With over a decade of experience in innovation management, Arushi has worked for leading India-based IP consulting firms. Arushi is a doctoral student working to develop a deeper understanding of how AI is transforming the modern, knowledge-based economies.

Fun fact: Arushi loves to play bricks (Lego and Kinex) with her 8-year-old son. She also finds herself, in the spare time that she has, to tinker with text analytics approaches on patent data sets for organization and classification. “

Colin Kibjis, Senior Program Manager

Focus: Working across program streams and with the Leadership team, Colin is responsible for providing project management support for strategic initiatives, as well as ensuring compliance and managing government relations.

Background: Before joining IAC, Colin spent more than a decade working in global development, most recently with Right To Play in a project management capacity where he was responsible for bringing people together to ensure the successful delivery of the full project lifecycle. Colin recently returned to school to study business sustainability. 

Fun Fact: Two young children occupy most of his time these days, but Colin still finds time to cheer on Chelsea FC. 

Dana Bowman, Events Manager

Focus:

Background: Dana has over 20 years’ experience in administration and operations. She got her start in operations and logistics, which eventually landed her in event management. The focus of her career for the past 10 years has been incorporating diversity, inclusion, and equity into both the operations and events in the NFP sector.

Fun fact: Dana loves reading and doing really geeky stuff like watching sci-fi and going to conventions (pre-COVID). In a past life, she got to hang out with black bears and rattle snakes – there’s photo evidence of her holding both in her lap, just not at the same time.

Jim Kosolowski, Director, Patent Acquisitions

Focus: Leading the delivery of IAC’s freedom to operate (FTO) patent purchase and licensing program, which offers maximize value for Canadian cleantech SMEs. With a focus on IACs IP services. Jim works with a team of patent professionals to analyze and source IP and contribute to patent intelligence work.

Background: Jim brings decades of progressive technical and leadership experience to his role at IAC.

Fun Fact: Jim is looking forward to getting back to the mountains to ski.

Joshua Renouf, Social Media Coordinator

Focus: Increasing brand awareness and brand loyalty through various digital marketing initiatives as well as online community management across multiple social media platforms.

Background: A marketing and communications specialist, Joshua has demonstrated a proven track record of success by leveraging his academic experience to cultivate relationships between brands and their target audiences through content development, social media marketing, and strategic communications.

Fun fact: Joshua is an avid podcast listener and enjoys producing short audio pieces on various topics in his free time.  He is also a huge combat sports fan that has a long-term goal of competing in an amateur boxing match one day.

Julia Culpeper, Senior Program Manager, Education & Strategy

Focus: Working with an incredible team of educators to develop and implement a comprehensive and in-depth IP Strategy curriculum for IAC Members using a variety of approaches and delivery methods.

Background: A decade of experience in arts administration and project management has led Julia through a number of industries, including theatre, hospitality, and higher education. She specializes in distilling big ideas into action, and being over-organized.

Fun fact: Julia is an avid reader, soccer player, and pianist, and loves painting, cooking (eating), and being outdoors – hiking, birding, and backcountry camping with friends and family.

Karran Sahadeo, Digital Content Creator

Focus: Builds branded content to demonstrate IAC’s value and impact on Canada’s data-driven cleantech sector. 

Background: Born in Guyana, got a tan in Bahamas, learned about life in New Jersey had a Nandos in the UK, and now currently cycling in Toronto while simultaneously drinking tea and documenting the city. 


Fun fact: Karran has spent the last decade trying to make the perfect NYC slice, and he is pretty close.

Kassaye Berhanu-MacDonald, Education Content Specialist

Focus: Ensuring the language in IAC’s course material is easily digestible, helpful, and engaging so that IAC Members have a positive and enriching learning experience.

Background: Kassaye has a background in writing, copywriting, and B2B/B2C content marketing. She has written about a wide variety of topics from human trafficking in international adoption to environmental compliance laws to payment processing and home design. Above all, Kassaye is passionate about understanding target audiences (who they are and what makes them tick) so she can create relevant content that aligns with business objectives.


Fun fact: Kassaye co-created and co-hosted Out of The Fog (2016-2017), a podcast about family separation. Currently, she is almost finished co-editing Lions Roaring Far From Home, an anthology written by 33 Ethiopian adoptees living in seven countries (forthcoming in 2022). When she’s not reading, writing, or advocating for family preservation, Kassaye enjoys aerial arts and most of all – listening to her young son’s colorful and dramatic stories!

Kristine Van De Munt, Office Manager

Focus: Support the overall success of IAC by supporting the background administration of key internal processes and accounting practices.

Background: Over 5 years office management in the construction industry with a key focus on accounting Kristine has learned a lot about business processes and best practices.  Now looking to develop a new skillset in the IP sector and contribute to the overall success of IAC.

Fun fact: Kristine is an artist with a goal to eventually have a piece displayed in a gallery or coffee shop.

Mayur, Sharma, Junior Patent Analyst

Focus: Support the delivery of IAC’s IP Intelligence product stream, as well as the Patent Access stream, aimed at securing FTO (Freedom-to-Operate) for our member SMEs, including performing patent and market landscape studies, patent reviews, and prior art analysis. 

Background: Mayur worked as a patent searcher with an IP service provider firm in India for about 3 years and almost a year writing technical content for other such firms on their websites. Mayur is motivated by the purpose-driven work at IAC in helping Canadian SME’s leverage their IP

Fun fact: Having made his first international trip to Canada in February 2022, Mayur is looking forward to exploring Canada and its vast cultural diversity. 

Melissa Bouffard, Relationship Manager

Focus: Acting as the main point of contact for all IAC members. In this role, Melissa is supporting and engaging with members, to understand their needs and the challenges they are facing.

Background: Melissa’s experience in customer service and account management will be applied to ensure members extract the full relevant benefits from IAC.

Fun fact: After entering for tickets to Saturday Night Live for many years, Melissa finally won in January 2020 and got to see a show live from New York!

Michael Yusuf, Business Development & Relationship Manager – Associate Member Tier

Focus:  Managing engagement and fostering relationships with associate members while serving as a thought partner on strategic business development and membership growth.

Background: With over 8 years of experience influencing and working collaboratively across cross-functional teams, building relationships internally and externally, Michael’s main driving force is a passion to co-create, promote business visions, and deepen partnerships through value propositions.

Fun Fact: Michael enjoys trying out new sports and consuming a lot of podcasts.

Peggy Chooi, Strategic IP Specialist

Focus: As part of the Education, Strategy and Funding Team, Peggy is passionate about providing strategic support to IAC members in their IP discovery and growth journey.

Background: Peggy has more than 20 years of combined experience as a Canadian and international intellectual property lawyer, with a focus on trademark law, IT, and IP commercialization. Peggy is also a registered trademark agent with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and the US Patent and Trademark Office. Peggy has worked extensively with many international law firms and Fortune 500 companies, along with SMEs and technology start-ups, to help businesses develop creative strategies to manage their intellectual property rights.

Fun Fact: Peggy enjoys swimming and exploring the extensive Toronto bike paths.

Rasha Shamat, Senior Manager, Business Development

Focus: Engaging and assisting new potential members in realizing the benefit and value of becoming an integral part of IAC, ensuing membership growth and customer relevance.

Background: Rasha has over 20 years of experience in marketing and business development in IT software development, events and publishing with the most recent seven years in IP in Dubai, UAE. She is passionate about building awareness on the importance and value of IP for women entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Fun Fact: Rasha is an avid traveller who mixes her passion for travel with her love for hiking, with her last hike being Camino de Santiago. Rasha also enjoys architectural drawing and painting.

Ron Oliver, Director, IP Business Development

Focus:  Working as part of the Freedom to Operate team, Ron helps with identification of key markets and technical areas to acquire patents and freedom to operate licenses.

Background: Ron has 20 years of experience in the high-tech sector,16 of which in the intellectual property space.  As Director of Licensing at WiLAN Technologies, Ron negotiated patent licensing agreements; managed University research partnerships for Huawei Canada, and most recently, he managed multiple aspects of a government funded clean-tech demonstration project.

Fun Fact: ”Before I decided to fully embrace the aerodynamic advantages provided by a shaved head, I was often told that I looked like Ray Donovan…”

Sean Nurse, E-learning Coordinator

Focus:  Sean lends his skillset, developed over multiple LMS platforms, to the IAC’s IP Education Hub. Sean works to ensure that the content is consistently functional and digestible and that members have access to the IAC’s constantly expanding knowledgebase of the IP universe. 

Background:  Since 2010, Sean has been publishing synchronous and asynchronous learning online for the Legal and financial service industries and is grateful to be part of the movement to strengthen IP portfolios in the clean tech industry. 
 
Fun Fact: Sean was an award-winning Singer/Songwriter/Producer in a previous life under the stage name Sean Oliver. 

Spoorthy Kondaveeti, Manager, IP Strategy

Focus: Supporting members in establishing sound IP strategies and utilizing IAC programs as they execute on their business strategies.

Background: Spoorthy has a Master’s in Electrical Engineering from New York University and over a decade of experience in IP consulting. She has worked with major semiconductor & other hi-tech clients around the globe helping them with their IP strategy.

Fun fact: Spoorthy has lived and worked in 10 different cities in North America & India before she settled in Toronto. In her free time, Spoorthy likes to bake with her two girls and she loves making fun birthday cakes. She is also a certified Yoga teacher with a strong passion for making Yoga accessible to everyone.

Veronica Mesquita, Program Coordinator, Education & Strategy

Focus: Veronica has joined the IAC team to support the organization, administration and delivery of IAC’s Education and Strategy initiatives.

Background: Veronica has worked in program and project management roles in a variety of industries. She brings experience from her previous roles in government, healthcare, agriculture and academics to IAC.

Fun fact:Veronica plays in a weekly trivia league. She also loves swimming and playing volleyball.