"Our success has really been based on partnerships from the very beginning."
- Bill Gates



Meet the team of Advisors supporting the Pond-Deshpande Centre’s Initiatives.

Gerry Pond, Chair
Gerry Pond has over 45 years of in-depth experience in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. As the CEO of NBTel and the President of its successor, Aliant Telecom, he was at the helm during a period of significant deregulation in the Canadian industry. Under his innovative leadership, NBTel emerged as an international ICT leader.

Born in Quebec and raised in New Brunswick, Gerry Pond’s educational achievements include a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Brunswick; Organizational Effectiveness Program, Harvard University; Executive Program, McGill University; and Senior Executive’s Program, University of Western Ontario.

Pond is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Mariner Partners Inc., and has co-founded a number of successful ICT start-ups in Atlantic Canada, including iMagicTV, Q1 Labs, Brovada Technologies, Radian6, Shift Energy and Cirrus9. He is also the Co-Founder of Propel ICT, a start-up accelerator, the Co-Founder of the Pond-Deshpande Centre at the University of New Brunswick, and the Co-Founder and Chairman of East Valley Ventures, an incubator for Atlantic Canadian start-up companies with a mission of helping passionate entrepreneurs launch meaningful and enduring technology companies.

Gerry Pond has received many honours, both regionally and nationally, including the prestigious 1997 Canadian Information Productivity Association (CIPA) Innovator of the Year and Hall of Fame, the NB Knowledge Industry Recognition and Achievement (KIRA) Awards Person of the Year in 2002, the 2003 Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEO Award in Atlantic Canada in 2003 and 2005, an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of New Brunswick, and an Honorary Doctor of Commerce from Saint Mary’s University.. For his tireless contribution to regional economic development, he was inducted into the New Brunswick Business Hall of Fame in October 2007.

An inspiring innovator and social entrepreneur, Gerry Pond also earned recognition as 2011 Canadian Angel of the Year from Techvibes & KPMG. In 2012, he received the 2012 Red Cross Humanitarian Award for New Brunswick. He was twice honoured in 2013, first by The Learning Partnership as a Champion of Public Education, and then as the recipient of the Order of New Brunswick for his innovative spirit and critical contribution to many of New Brunswick’s IT and telecommunications success stories. At the 2014 Canadian Startup Awards, Gerry Pond’s passion for supporting innovation and entrepreneurship was recognized with the prestigious WolfBlass Lifetime Achievement Award.

Most recently, he was awarded the first-ever Business Development Bank of Canada Entrepreneurship Champion – a national award that recognizes the achievement of a Canadian entrepreneur and community leader who has created and grown one or many successful small or medium-sized businesses while significantly contributing to the prosperity of the Canadian entrepreneurship ecosystem.


Raj Melville, Executive Director, The Deshpande Foundation

As Executive Director at the Deshpande Foundation, Raj develops overall strategy, and channels the Foundation’s Advisor: Raj Melvilleefforts to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. Previously as Principal at Ambient Engines, Raj Melville provided marketing and strategy consulting to emerging social entrepreneurs. He founded the annual Forum for Social Entrepreneurs, organized and moderated numerous panels and workshops on social entrepreneurship, and currently mentors several startups focused on addressing key social issues.



Christy Clarke, President and CEO Gratitude Works

Advisor: Christy Clarke

Christy Clarke is the Founder and Executive Director of Earth Spirit Horse Rescue & Gratitude Works Personal & Professional Development.

Together, these two organizations offer New Brunswick a brand new program that will save horses from abuse and neglect, combined with suicide prevention and youth empowerment camps, unique and inspiring women’s programs, as well as unprecedented entrepreneurial leadership, and corporate team-building workshops. In addition to her academic training and seventeen years of experience with horses, Christy is certified as a facilitator of Equine Experiential Learning. “Profound healing … Life changing … the most Amazing and insightful experience of my life!” are just a few of the client testimonials that speak volumes about the positive impact of such innovative social enterprise. Christy is a PhD candidate at the University of New Brunswick, completing research on the history of human-horse relations in education and therapy programs. She has been awarded over $100,000 in scholarships for her academic research, including one of the most prestigious scholarships in Canada from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Her passion is about empowering positive, lasting change in the world.


Seth Asimakos, Executive Director, Saint John Community Loan Fund

Advisor: Seth Asimakos

Seth wrote the original business plan for the Loan Fund and continues as its manager today. Previous to the Loan Fund, Seth helped develop an immigrant owned worker co-operative in Saint John, prepared refugees and immigrants for the job market, and worked on rural economic development in Nicaragua and Colombia.

Seth also served as Executive Director of the Canadian Community Investment Network Cooperative and Co-Director of the Atlantic Social Economy Research Project, housed at Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS.



Marilyn Luscombe – President & CEO, New Brunswick Community College

Advisor: Marilyn Luscombe

Marilyn was previously President of Selkirk College in southeastern British Columbia. She has extensive experience in publicly-funded community colleges, both at the College of the North Atlantic (NL) and at Selkirk College, where she has served as President and Chief Executive Officer for 10 years.

Earlier in her career Marilyn worked in a variety of roles including: Instructor, Director of Student Services, co-ordinator of International Initiatives, Director of Planning, Vice -President Academic. She recently completed three years as board chair of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) within her six-year elected tenure on the ACCC Board.


Dr. David Burns  – Vice-President Research, University of New Brunswick

Advisor: David BurnsWhile at the University of Washington, Dr. Burns was a professor of bioengineering and the director of imaging at the special centre for organized research in vascular disease. Following a move from Seattle to Montreal, where he has spent the last 19 years, Dr. Burns has been a professor of chemistry and experimental medicine at McGill University.

In 1998, Dr. Burns was named scientific director, and then director, of the national centre of excellence for respiratory disease at McGill. He was then the associate dean for the university’s faculty of science from 2002 until 2008.


Calvin Milbury  – President & CEO, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation

Advisor: Calvin Milbury

As President and CEO, Calvin manages NBIF’s operations, leads its investment activities and actively manages its growing portfolio of venture capital and research investments. Calvin established the NBIF’s venture capital fund and has been instrumental in the creation and development of over 50 start-up companies.

Calvin joined NBIF in its inaugural year (2003) and was appointed to his current position in April 2009. Under his leadership, NBIF’s capital has grown from $40M to $120M under management, having secured capital from several sources including returns from successful investments in local companies like Radian6 Technologies and UserEvents.

Prior to joining NBIF, Calvin worked for Foragen Technologies Management, a national venture capital firm operating out of Montreal, and BioAtlantech, a biotechnology incubator located in Fredericton, where he carried out business development activities for two early-stage biotech companies.

Calvin is a University of New Brunswick graduate with a MBA &  BSc (Biology-Chemistry). As a native New Brunswicker, Calvin is pleased to be assisting NB entrepreneurs and innovators turn their innovative ideas into reality.

Marcel LeBrun  – CEO, Radian6

Advisor: Marcel LebrunMarcel brings with him years of leadership with various technology start-ups. A serial entrepreneur, he has raised over $100 million in financing, completed an IPO on the Nasdaq and TSX, and headed up an acquisition by a publicly traded company.  Prior to joining Radian6, Marcel was Vice-President of technology consulting at IPTV solutions firm, Mariner Partners. He has also served as Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of SalesBridge Canada Corp., and Vice-President, fixed solutions division (FSD) of Paris-based, Alcatel, a leading provider of communications solutions to telecommunication carriers. In 1998, Marcel co-founded and was President and CEO of ImagicTV Inc. a start-up company that quickly became the worldwide market leader in IPTV video software solutions. Marcel began his career at NBTel (Aliant Inc.) holding various positions in engineering, planning and marketing.

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