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New Job

Tim Jackson to head up the prestigious national program SHAD

STEAM based summer youth program fosters youth innovation and entrepreneurship

Waterloo – As a technology entrepreneur in the late 1990’s, Tim Jackson was one of the leaders who put Waterloo on the map as it became known as Canada’s Silicon Valley.

More recently, he has been Executive Vice President at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs. At MaRS, through the Centre for Impact Investing, he encouraged foundations to invest millions of dollars in a novel way to tackle social problems aligned with their charitable objectives.

Now, Tim Jackson has his sights set on making more people in Canada familiar with four letters they may not know: SHAD.

He says it is crucial that exceptional youth are given the support they need to reach their full potential especially if Canada wants to be a leader when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship.

The 2015 Global Innovation Index report ranked Canada 16th in terms of global innovation.

That’s why Jackson is joining SHAD as its new CEO and President starting in July.

“SHAD is like walking into a room and turning on a giant light for the whole country. By transforming these youth through the SHAD program, it makes Canada’s future brighter.”

“Tim is the perfect leader to take us forward from the strong position we currently have,” says David Hay, Chair of SHAD’s Board of Directors. Hay adds, “Tim’s great passion for entrepreneurship combined with his belief that Canada’s youth are well positioned to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems will ensure that we take SHAD to a new level, making it a household name across Canada.”

SHAD is a unique not for profit organization that serves as an incubator for innovation and entrepreneurship for Canada’s best and brightest students while they are still in high school. Its focus is to empower youth to become change makers and global leaders.

The list of SHAD Fellows include a serial entrepreneur and Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, a NASA researcher trying to help humans get to Mars, a world leading stem cell researcher, a top NHL executive, an international best-selling author and many other leaders.

“Despite an amazing 35 year track record, SHAD has been one of Canada’s best kept secrets,” Jackson says. He notes with Canada now focused on youth innovation and entrepreneurship to help fuel the new economy, SHAD is where it all begins.

Top students from around the country apply for coveted positions to take part in SHAD which is hosted at 12 different university campuses. The students are immersed in an intense one month enrichment program in July focused on STEAM subjects: science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

In one of the more unique elements at SHAD, students are presented with a theme or global challenge every summer. They collaborate in small groups using their different skills and expertise to devise an original product or service that addresses this real world, complex issue. In the process, they are taught how to build a business plan, marketing plan and a working prototype under tight deadlines and facing difficult odds.

SHAD Fellows build connections for life and become part of the SHAD network which includes 30 Rhodes Scholars, and leaders in many fields. “We are putting our top youth at risk if we don’t invest in them with programs such as SHAD,” Jackson says. He adds, “You look at our athletes. We invest in them early and give them a support network so they can be world beaters. We have to do the same for our best and brightest young minds.”

Jackson takes over as President of SHAD at a good time. SHAD has had a record number of applications for the past two years. Barry Bisson helped SHAD become one of Canada’s premier programs fostering youth innovation and entrepreneurship and is retiring after 11 years as President.

“We thank Barry for his amazing commitment to SHAD for more than 30 years,” SHAD Chair David Hay says. He adds, “Barry became a big believer in SHAD ever since he started the program at the University of New Brunswick in 1985 and saw the impact it had on youth first hand.”

Jackson was one of the senior executives of PixStream, a leading Waterloo technology company in the late 1990’s which helped spur on the careers of many other entrepreneurs in the Waterloo region. Following that, Jackson co-founded a venture capital firm that invested in numerous startup companies. He later served as CEO of the Accelerator Centre, a startup incubator in Waterloo. He has served as a mentor for many individuals and companies because of his understanding of the obstacles, and the failures involved in creating successful ventures. He also spent several years in executive roles with the University of Waterloo.

SHAD is a Canadian charitable non-profit organization that helps exceptional high school students recognize and envision their full potential as tomorrow’s leaders and change makers. Each year, the SHAD program provides the opportunity for more than 600 students from across Canada and internationally to attend a transformational month-long summer program at one of 12 Canadian host communities focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). There are currently more than 14,800 SHAD alumni all sharing the Uncommon Purpose of the SHAD experience and able to leverage their SHAD network for life. The SHAD 2016 program will take place from July 3 to 29.

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