CCI Strengthens Advocacy Team with New Ontario Lead and Director of Communications

June 14, 2023

TORONTO, CANADA — The Council of Canadian Innovators, Canada’s 21st century business association, is delighted to announce Skaidra Puodžiūnas has joined the team as our new Ontario Director of Government Affairs, and James McLeod will take on an expanded role within council as our new Director of Content and Communications.

Skaidra joins CCI with a wealth of experience in digital transformation roles across the Government of Ontario. She most recently served as a team lead in Ontario’s Office of the Chief Corporate Information Officer, a hub connecting 4,000 information technology specialists within government. Previously, she served as a senior advisor to the Ontario Digital Service, directly supporting Ontario’s first Chief Digital and Data Officer and Ontario’s first Minister Responsible for Digital Government.

“Skaidra has seen digital policy from inside the Government of Ontario and worked to support 21st century services delivery. I’m thrilled that she will now be working to help CCI members navigate the Ontario government, and giving voice to the policy priorities that can drive growth in the Ontario innovation economy,” said CCI President Benjamin Bergen.

As Director of Government Affairs for Ontario, Skaidra will work closely with the Ontario government to advance CCI’s priorities and will ensure the government’s policies, regulations, and legislation meet the specific needs of Ontario’s thriving tech sector.

Outside of work, Skaidra is an advisory member of FWD50, a global digital government conference, and an active co-organizer of Civic Tech Toronto, a volunteer-led community open to anyone with an interest in solving civic and social issues.

In addition, CCI is proud to announce the promotion of James McLeod to the position of Director of Content and Communications. With a successful career in political and business journalism, James joined the CCI team in 2020, having previously served as the technology and telecom reporter for the Financial Post.

Since joining CCI, James has played an integral role in shaping the organization’s advocacy efforts and messaging in the media, as well as driving public awareness campaigns related to the policy priorities of innovators. He has been particularly passionate about highlighting the achievements and stories of high-growth Canadian technology companies and has launched new initiatives to elevate the leaders behind them.

“James has been instrumental in leading communications strategies for CCI’s national and provincial public advocacy campaigns and ensuring the concerns of scale-up technology companies receive prominence in the news media,” said Patrick Searle, Vice-President of Corporate Affairs. “Through initiatives such as the ‘5 Questions’ features and other communications efforts, James has effectively showcased the leadership and ingenuity of Canada’s top innovators.”

ABOUT THE COUNCIL The Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) represents more than 150 domestic high-growth technology-intensive companies. Founded in 2015 by Canada’s most successful technology CEOs, CCI aims to amplify their voices in the public policy development process around innovation, countering the dominance of foreign multinationals and other entities not focused on Canadian economic growth. CCI’s CEOs lead Canadian-based innovation firms in sectors such as Healthtech, Cleantech, Fintech, Cyber, and ICT, driving commercialization of intellectual property, generating jobs and wealth, making investments, and engaging in philanthropy. Learn more about Canada’s 21st century business council at

Media Contact: Patrick Searle

Vice-President, Corporate Affairs


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