Firehood and CCI partner for Innovation Governance Training for Women-Led Startups

March 8, 2024

The Council of Canadian Innovators is proud to announce a partnership with The Firehood, a nationwide movement to foster women’s participation in the technology sector. Through this partnership, all Firehood portfolio companies will receive access to board governance training through CCI’s Innovation Governance Program (iGP) to better equip women tech leaders with skills and knowledge about the intangible economy and board governance.

Co-founded by two of Canada’s leading businesswomen, Danielle Graham and Claudette McGowan, The Firehood’s mission is to increase the participation, leadership, and prosperity of women in technology. They have invested over $4 million in 20 promising women founders in the tech sector.

"Canada’s tech sector thrives when women have every opportunity to pursue their ideas and lead disruptive startup companies. However, growing a technology company involves more than just a brilliant idea; strategy, governance, and technical knowledge are crucial for success," explained Danielle Graham, Co-Founder of The Firehood.

The Firehood Co-Founder Claudette McGowan added, "Women angels select incredible founders through our network. Our portfolio startups are thrilled and we believe this program will equip Firehood founders with the knowledge needed to make their companies more successful."

Over the past two years, iGP has proudly upheld a steadfast commitment to gender parity, ensuring that every cohort reflects a balanced representation of talented individuals from diverse backgrounds. This deliberate effort to cultivate gender equality within the program underscores iGP's dedication to inclusivity and serves as a powerful catalyst for fostering a more equitable and dynamic board governance landscape in Canada.

“As we commemorate International Women's Day, it's crucial to acknowledge the phenomenal contributions of women in steering Canada towards a brighter, more innovative future,” said Benjamin Bergen, President of CCI. “In particular, we want to shine a spotlight on the incredible efforts of the women involved in the Innovation Governance Program. On this International Women's Day, let's celebrate these extraordinary women who are shaping the governance landscape and paving the way for a more inclusive and innovative Canada. We’re grateful for The Firehood’s support, and their work to elevate women in the Canadian tech sector. ”

At the helm of the iGP is a dedicated steering committee, including incredible women leaders Julia Culpeper at IAC, Jennifer Brown at BMO, and Erin Friio at Deloitte, who champion the program's mission to cultivate qualified directors and foster diversity on corporate boards across Canada. Their leadership and commitment are driving transformative change in our innovation ecosystem.

The Alumni Advisory Committee, which includes Louise Adongo, Michelle Sinclair, Allison Christilaw, Karen Moores, and Lisa Oldridge, plays a pivotal role in guiding the format, content and direction of the program. Their expertise aids in areas from refining curriculum structures to fine-tuning session agendas, and their hands-on involvement ensures that the program remains at the forefront of industry standards, fostering an environment primed for learning and growth.

The program is enriched by the expertise and insights of its esteemed instructors and guest speakers, a majority of whom are remarkable women leading the charge in various sectors:

  • Nicole Janssen, Co-Founder & Co-CEO at AltaML
  • Susy Martins, Founder & CEO at Advise2Rise
  • Erin Pisko, VP, Strategy at IAC
  • Peggy Chooi, Strategic IP Specialist at IAC
  • Jessica Kearsey, Partner at Deloitte Legal
  • Enza Ciciretto, Partner at Deloitte
  • Jesslyn Maurier, Partner at Bennett Jones LLP
  • Jeilah Chan, IP Partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP
  • Sabrina Bandali, Partner at Bennett Jones LLP
  • Lally Rementilla,  Managing Partner, IP-Backed Financing at BDC
  • Eva Lau, Founder & General Partner at Two Small Fish Ventures
  • Jennifer Wilson, Founder & CEO at Re:Co

Their dedication, leadership, and expertise are invaluable assets driving positive change and progress. Here's to their continued success and the countless women like them who are making waves in every corner of our society!

Media Contact:
James McLeod
CCI Director of Communications

CCI Team Members


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