Staff

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Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

- Walt Whitman

Graham Truax

Executive Director / Executive in Residence


Graham is a technology and entrepreneurial shaper, a.k.a. Startup Whisperer.  He considers himself (and we do too) as an introverted extrovert and an optimistic pragmatist!  With over 30 years’ experience working as an entrepreneur and executive in start-ups and small-medium-sized businesses, starting with mainframe computing in 1982, Graham’s career has spanned retail, manufacturing, commercial real-estate development and media/technology industries in Canada and the US.  He has founded, co-founded and advised dozens of companies; realizing 7-9 figure revenues and raising over $150 million in venture and institutional financing.  Product conceptualization, market research, strategic planning, creative financing and risk/opportunity assessments are key attributes to his work as an Executive in Residence and Business Advisor.

As a relentless information hacker and technology advocate Graham’s enthusiasm for new concepts and ideas is infectious!  In helping his clients to build, grow and stay in place he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the challenge and opportunity of technology’s exponential future.  Graham moved to the Comox Valley from West Vancouver in 2008 with his family; he enjoys skiing, SUP, sailing, and exploring trails by foot or pedal.

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Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

- Benjamin Franklin

Jennifer Hufnagel

GENERAL MANAGER

A passion for people, technology, training and systems explains Jennifer's enthusiasm for GSD (getting stuff done). After graduating from UVIC with a Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurship, Jennifer spent her early career working as a Business Analyst for a software consulting firm. Her career evolved to supporting end users on technology in the franchising world. She then “fell into” corporate training & instructional design and has since built training programs for 4 separate franchise companies.

Fast forward 20 years and Jennifer has designed, developed and delivered training to thousands of users in technology, software, soft skills and operations. Her client list includes Startup entrepreneurs, franchise business owners and Fortune 100/500 teams, including Walmart, KMPG, and Intuit. One of her most memorable initiatives was creating the Venue Specific Classroom Training program for 45,000+ users for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.​

Having grown up in the small north Island fishing village of Sointula, Jennifer has made her way back to the island after almost 20 years away; she now calls Nanoose Bay her home. When she is not trying to convince someone to take her fishing, Jennifer can be found playing badminton, canning everything from salsa to pickles, camping, hanging out at the beach, hiking with her dog Tiger, or exploring the island.

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Vision without execution is hallucination.

- Thomas Edison

Joseph Bowes

Executive in Residence

Entrepreneur, senior executive, and advisor – Joseph’s passion and experience has always revolved around early-stage ventures, and includes significant experience in commercialization strategy, corporate development, and financing. In this regard, he has worked with technology companies, as well as resource-based, and B2B (retail sector) ventures. Notable C-Suite roles include: his own several startups and successful exits; a senior executive role in a B2B startup which, in less than two years, grew to over $1M per week in revenues, and; serving as a founding director of a Florida-based specialty finance company, which grew during his involvement to $50M USD in net loans ($312M, 2016).

Skiing, racquet sports, and boating are some of Joseph’s favourite pastimes.

DIGITAL ECONOMY RESPONSE TEAM

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Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.

- Henry Ford

Sharon Marshall

Digital Business Manager

 

Sharon is an administrative professional with 30+ years’ of technical and operational experience and a passion for all things digital! For the past 15 years’ she has been providing virtual support to individuals and organizations globally. She is the founder of DEVA Training & Staffing Solutions (formerly Virtual eAdmin) and the founder and president of Cree8iv Collaboration Inc. Sharon has various credentials in communications & leadership and she is a skilled trainer and facilitator. With a strong work ethic she loves collating key deliverables and driving day-to-day decisions & activities. When Sharon is not busy offering HOPE by Helping Other People Excel, she is busy drawing and spending time in nature.

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Almost nothing can stop you from succeeding if you have flexibility and self-accountability.

- Ray Dalio

Lisa Pedscalny

Digital Services Manager

 

Lisa began working “remotely” more than a decade ago, and has worked alongside, built, and led distributed teams across North America, overseeing more than 75 international employees in senior leadership roles. She has 10+ years’ experience in Administration, Project Management, Human Resources, and Quality Management and has been involved with start-up and early stage ventures for much of her career. Lisa has also acted as a consultant, working with small business owners to evaluate and optimize their operational performance using custom built databases and other technology based solutions. Lisa spends her leisure time hiking and exploring in nature, taking photos, and sharing her writing and images via various online platforms.

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It is never too late to become what you might have been.

- George Eliot

Steve Sakamoto

Digital Business Advisor

Steve has 20+ years of professional experience in the IT industry, including 14 years of technical and executive search recruiting. He is an expert in resourcing and is highly skilled in assessing the technical needs and capabilities of industry professionals. Throughout his entire career, Steve has been focused on projects within the digital economy; including strategic planning and tactical delivery related to market research and analysis, business development and solutions implementation. Steve understands the opportunities and challenges of launching digital businesses. He has led rebranding initiatives, created digital marketing plans and has delivered various service-oriented business development proposals and presentations.

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If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavour.

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Janet Bonaguro

Commercial Business Advisor

In having worked with over 150 organizations locally and internationally over the past 20+ years Janet is passionate about making a difference in the business community. Along with those assignments comes a great deal of adaptability and change management expertise. Backed with corporate-level skills from advising to national and multinational firms such as KPMG and MNP Janet has a wide range of entrepreneurial skills in helping businesses and ideas get off the ground quickly. With various credentials in business, finance, and project management she understands scalability and profitability challenges facing growing or pivoting organizations in changing marketplaces. When not in “business” mode Janet enjoys woodworking, paddling or time in the forest on her mountain bike.

Innovation Island is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction of the organization. Our Board excels in its commitment to creating a vibrant regional technology community!
 
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
JP Obbagy | Relevance Path Marketing 
Blair Franklin | Johnston Franklin Bishop Lawyers
Jordan Ell | Riipen
Ivan Eggers | Resonance Software
Anya Macleod | Thoughtexchange