FIRSt Advisory Board
The key purpose of the George Brown College Food Innovation & Research Studio (FIRSt) Advisory Board is to provide strategic advice on the implementation, management and future sustainability of FIRSt, in accordance with the guidelines set by the College and Community Innovation Program (CIIP) Technology Access Centre funding program. These Terms of Reference are in accordance with Tri-Council guidelines for the TAC funding program.
The role of the FIRSt Advisory Board is to: provide effective strategic advice and guidance for the successful operation of FIRSt; Provide stewardship of the vision and goal setting; Ensure responsible decision-making in accordance with George Brown College and NSERC policies; and Act as a communications link to industry. The FIRSt Advisory Board is responsible for: Ensuring FIRSt has a sound organizational structure and clear lines of accountability (includes management, business direction and fiscal responsibilities); Periodic evaluation of progress towards FIRSt objectives and the adjustment of goals, priorities, timeframes and milestones; Reviewing and advising NSERC to approve annual statements of income and expenses; Reviewing and approval of FIRSt progress reports prior to submission to NSERC; and reviewing and advising NSERC to approve major reallocation of funds and budgetary changes.
Dawn Davidson, Honors B.Sc., M.Sc.
Associate Vice President
Dawn Davidson is the Associate Vice President, Research and Innovation at George Brown College. In this position, she leads the College’s applied research and innovation activities and is accountable for the overall leadership of applied research at GBC, including growing research capacity within the College and attracting external partnerships and financial investment to the College. Ms. Davidson is also responsible for institutional research and planning, focusing on educational quality measurement and improvement, and strategy implementation.
Vice President, Commercial Financial Services, Manufacturing, Wholesale/Distribution, Transportation, RBC Royal Bank
Jane has over 25 years experience in banking. During her tenure with RBC she has worked in a range of areas including Corporate Banking, National Office and Systems & Technology, with industry focus including Media & Telecommunication, Knowledge Based Industries and Manufacturing, Wholesale and Distribution.
For the past 10 years, in her role as Vice President, Commercial Financial Services she has led a team of bankers in the vibrant growth market of York Region. Her team’s focus on businesses in the manufacturing, wholesale, distribution and transportation segments enables a tailored and industry specific approach to financial solutions for customers. Jane also launched RBC’s Food & Beverage strategy in the GTA, and leads a cross-functional team of specialists dedicated to supporting food and beverage processors and distributors.
Jane was a member of the steering committee for the GTA Food Cluster. She has been active in partnership with the Board of Trade and local Chambers of Commerce. She is a former President of the board of Findhelp – the organization that delivers 211 human service information and referral services in the Greater Toronto area and in York Region.
Mark Nesbitt, MBA, B.Sc. (mathematics), B.A. (Chair)
Vice-President, Corporate Services
Mark Nesbitt manages the tangible assets of George Brown College, including finance, facilities, capital development and security, and leads process improvement. Mark is also the co-chair of the cross-college Sustainability Committee. Prior to joining the George Brown team in 2013, Mark worked closely with the college’s corporate and academic executives as a consultant for 14 years. His belief in the George Brown mission, and his desire to further that mission, brought him onto the management team.
Mark enjoyed a successful career as a management consultant for over 34 years, with roles of increasing responsibility in the firm Veritas Consultants Inc., and in the profession. Mark became president of Veritas in 1986 and led a management team buyout of the firm and its evolution into Vertex Consultants in 1993. Mark has served as chair of the Canadian Association of Management Consultants and has been a board member and committee chair of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes. Mark also served four years as president of International Management Development (IMD), an international group of consulting firms. He has been a frequent speaker on management consulting and the challenge of professionalism. Mark has an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a B.Sc. (mathematics) and BA (psychology) from Carleton University.
Llewellyn S. Smith, BSc. and C. Dir.
President of Helderleigh Holdings Inc.; The Helderleigh Foundation
Llewellyn S. Smith is President of Helderleigh Holdings Inc. and The Helderleigh Foundation, an organization with a corporate mission to improve the physical health and wellness of Canadians. As former owner and C.E.O. of E.D. Smith & Sons, Limited, a $150 m packaged goods company, his company was selected as one of “Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies.” He has also been a limited partner of Renewal 3 Funds, InvestEco and Arctern Ventures, each of which specialize in providing growth capital and strategic advice to early stage expansion companies that promote positive social and environmental change in the food and cleantech sectors. He is the recipient of the Canada Award of Excellence for Entrepreneurship.
Dean, Centre for Hospitality & Culinary Arts, George Brown College
With 14 years of college experience and over 20 years in the private sector, Lorraine is a senior executive skilled in leading new initiatives in organizations experiencing significant change. She oversaw the creation of new programs, facilities and partnerships across Canada and around the world as part of an expanded vision for the centre.
In early 2012, Lorraine’s portfolio grew when she took on the role of Dean, Centre for Hospitality & Culinary Arts. Always a foodie at heart and with a passion for relationship building, this was a natural transition to a centre known for training graduates with service excellence, entrepreneurial spirit and dedicated focus on success.
Lorraine earned an undergraduate degree in business and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, at the University of Western Ontario. During her time at George Brown she has been involved with numerous committees, including co-chairing both the Association of Community Colleges of Canada Affinity Group on Immigration and the United Way college campaign. Lorraine’s past community outreach includes supporting YouthLink Youth Services as well as the Canadian Association of Women Executives and Entrepreneurs.
President and CEO, Allergen Control Group
Paul Valder is President and CEO of the Allergen Control Group, owners of the Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP), the only preventative gluten-free manufacturing certification standard, founded on globally recognized food safety management principles. Paul is also the founder and CEO of Toronto based Paul Valder Consulting, (PVC Inc.), which since 2007 continues to provide independent” first-in-class” risk-based and professional support services to the food industry. PVC is fully equipped to help organizations throughout the value-chain meet increasing customer, regulatory and consumer requirements, when it comes to globally recognized food safety and quality management standards.
Jack Deyirmendjian, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC representative, non-voting)
Tricia Ryan, Director, FIRSt (non-voting)