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sunset on the river

 

WATER IS LIFE

It's time to heal the waters that sustain us.

OUR MISSION

Water is life. AquaAction's mission is to restore freshwater health in North America.

We do this by empowering young individuals to develop & commercialize innovative solutions to pressing water issuesFrom pollution to scarcity, we're tackling the toughest water challenges head-on.

 

It's time to heal the waters that sustain us.

Famille De Gaspe Beaubien

OUR STORY

AquaAction's story is one of passion, vision, and unwavering commitment to our planet's precious freshwater ecosystems. Our journey began in 2015, with visionary founders and the Fondation de Gaspe Beaubien, a distinguished organization deeply devoted to environmental stewardship and philanthropy. Driven by the dynamism of the younger generation, the family understood the urgent need for innovative solutions to protect and restore our threatened freshwater resources.

Smiling man using tablet in front of chalkboard wall.

AQUAHACKING


AquaHacking offers students and young professionals a unique opportunity to address critical issues related to freshwater through innovation and entrepreneurship. By developing skills and knowledge around the blue economy, you'll learn how to launch a startup that will contribute to climate resilience. You will receive mentorship, a microcredit and revolutionize the way we safeguard our most precious resource: water.

AQUA ENTREPRENEUR

AquaEntrepreneur is a scale-up program for water tech enterprises & startups ready to pilot solutions or enter new markets. We facilitate the deployment of innovative water solutions in municipalities and industry to drive impact at scale.

Scientist testing water quality by a river.
Group of happy colleagues in a team-building moment.

SUCCESS STORIES

AquaAction’s startups are at the forefront of freshwater solutions. Discover their innovative solutions and see how far they’ve come . This could be your story!

We believe in the power of new technology and of the next generation of young innovators to bring a solution-focused mindset to solving some of the most pressing water issues we face in North America.

 

Our Team

Soula Chronopoulos Photo

Soula Chronopoulos

President

Kariann Aarup Photo

Kariann Aarup

VP Program Development & Impact

Anne Pascale Richardson Photo

Anne Pascale Richardson

Director, AquaHacking Challenge Program

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Laila Benameur

Director, AquaEntrepreneur Program

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Kayla Menu-Courey

Director of Business Development

Jean-Sebastien Gasse Photo

Jean-Sebastien Gasse

Director of Digital Platforms and IT Strategy

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Juliette Dufresne

Program Coordinator

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Marilou Filliol

Marketing Coordinator

Sophie-Catherine Huneault Photo

Sophie-Catherine Huneault

Social Media Coordinator

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Patricia Dorne

Senior Consultant and Coaching Community Lead

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Liza Goulet

Special Advisor

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Vittoria De Palma

Controller

Our Board of Directors

Nan-B De Gaspé Beaubien

Nan-B De Gaspé Beaubien

Founding Chair, AquaAction

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Co-chair, De Gaspe Beaubien Foundation, Nan‑bowles (Nan‑b) de Gaspé Beaubien is a businesswoman and a pioneer in the advancement of family enterprise. As Founder and Chair of the de Gaspé Beaubien Family Foundation, she devotes her time to philanthropic endeavours that continue to break new ground supporting enterprising women and enterprising families, public health and environmental causes. An internationally renowned expert on the topic of family enterprise, Nan‑b is a regular speaker at global conferences and top universities worldwide.

Photo François de Gaspé Beaubien

François de Gaspé Beaubien

Founding Chair, AquaAction

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François de Gaspé Beaubien obtained a BA with honours from Haverford College before earning an MBA with distinction at Harvard Business School in 1989. Because of his strong academic performance, he was recruited by the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity, one of the oldest and most prestigious academic honour societies in the United States. After concluding his studies, François rose up the publishing ranks from publisher of New England Monthly magazine to eventually become President of Telemedia Publishing, Canada’s largest consumer magazine company at the time with titles ranging from TV Guide to Elle magazine. He and his team turned the organization from losses to the most profitable publishing group in Canada and he then sold that division in 2000. He and his brother oversaw the expansion of their radio division as co-CEOs to become Canada’s largest radio broadcaster, Telemedia, which they then sold in 2002. In 2003, François acquired Zoom Media, an indoor advertising company. Since he became CEO, the company has experienced tremendous growth (and focus), digitally entertaining and educating over 35 million fitness members every month across all of Canada, the USA, and the United Kingdom. He is the sole owner of Zoom. The businessman is also the co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Hivestack, a company that allows advertisers to target custom audiences digitally, based on physical world behaviors (combining the engagement of mobile devices with digital billboards). François recently sold Ayuda Media Systems, a software company utilized across 22 countries for its billboard management systems of which he was the Executive Chairman of the board. He is very involved in the industry and serves as Chairman of the board of the Digital Place Based Advertising Association (DPAA), a global initiative based out of NYC seeking to foster the growth of Digital Out Of Home (DOOH) media by bringing together market participants (media owners and tech suppliers) and educating marketers.

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Pierre-Marc Sarrazin

Vice-President, Corporate Finance, Development & Treasurer, Ovivo

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Pierre-Marc Sarrazin is Vice-President, Corporate Finance, Development & Treasurer of Ovivo, a global provider of water and wastewater treatment equipment headquartered in Montreal. He joined Ovivo in 2011 and he currently leads the mergers and acquisitions strategy, financing, treasury operations and investor relations.

Pierre-Marc cumulates close to twenty years of corporate finance and development experience for several multinational public companies, where he also actively participated in a number of strategic transactions, such as acquisitions, divestments, financing and restructuring.

Pierre-Marc holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and a Master of Science in International Business from HEC Montreal. He also holds the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst.

“I am involved with AquaAction because of its core mission, which contributes to two of my great passions: entrepreneurship and environmental protection. It is very rewarding to make a lasting difference through the creation and acceleration of innovative start-ups developing solutions to water-related problems.”

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Barrie Laver

Managing Director, Head Venture Capital & Private Equity, RBC

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Barrie Laver is Managing Director, Head Venture Capital & Private Equity with Royal Bank of Canada and leads RBC Capital Partners, the bank’s VC & PE arm. Mr. Laver’s background is primarily in the venture capital industry both with RBC as well as having founded his own independent venture fund that focused on early stage technology investments. Mr. Laver has also served as CEO with companies in the technology, hospitality and manufacturing sectors and has experience on numerous private, public and not-for-profit boards.

Mr. Laver is a member of CPA Canada and the Institute of Corporate Directors.

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Daniel St-George 

Associate Partner IBM 

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Daniel has extensive experience in digital strategy, business architecture, and complex technology implementation projects. He is a trusted advisor to executives and managers looking to reinvent their business or create more value from their current operations. He works across the entire strategy to execution domains.

Daniel has broad industry experience and has spent a significant part of his recent career in agribusiness and agri-food both in Canada, US and New Zealand. More recently he has led digital strategy and digital transformation engagements for a global consumer food organization and large ag-retailing co-operative. He has experience in agribusiness operations, with technologies such as farm management information systems, precision farming technologies, eCommerce and agronomy applications. He is also experienced in helping agribusiness and agri-food enterprises in areas such as digital strategy, business architecture, data integration, innovation and cognitive applications, cloud infrastructure, and data governance

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Helen Sheridan

Chief Human Resources Officer, STEMCELL Technologies

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Helen Sheridan is Chief Human Resources Officer at STEMCELL Technologies, which is Canada’s largest life sciences company.  STEMCELL has a 30-year track record of year-over-year growth and has over 2,200 staff in 18 countries across the world.

STEMCELL Technologies provides high-quality cell culture media, cell separation technologies, instruments, accessory products, and educational resources to scientists around the world working on stem cells, immunology, cancer, regenerative medicine, and cellular therapy research.  STEMCELL is dedicated to improving lives through advanced knowledge and scientific discovery, through our commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion in STEM and the life sciences industry, and through our investments in sustainability, community, and social responsibility. Rooted in scientific expertise and rigor, we are a company of Scientists Helping Scientists, and we care deeply about making the world a better place.

Known for her ability to build vibrant organizational cultures capable of generating exceptional business results and growth, Helen is a creative, values-based, community-centered, environmentally active, and entrepreneurial leader.

She holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science and a Masters in Organizational Systems.  She has always been an active member of her community sitting on multiple Boards representing both environmental and social interests, including currently, Aqua Action and the British Columbia Technology Association.  Most recently she sat as an active member of Oceanwise’s Executive Comittee of the Board during a period of significant transition.  She is married to a renowned BC chef and has two sons.  Helen loves our British Columbia outdoors lifestyle and gets outside whenever she can as a hobby farmer, runner, hiker and sea-kayaker.

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Kevin Chan

Global Policy Campaign Strategies Director, Meta Platforms

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Kevin Chan is the Global Policy Campaign Strategies Director at Meta Platforms, where he is focusing on the future of the internet, including the metaverse, AR/VR/MR, and the creator economy. In this role he is responsible for Meta's $50 million XR Research and Programs Fund, and is Meta’s representative on the World Economic Forum’s Global Collaboration Village.

A former government executive and university administrator, Kevin launched Facebook’s Canadian public policy function and spent 7 years as its Head and then Director of Policy. His work fighting white nationalists made NOW Magazine’s 2019 Year In Review, and he was awarded a 2020-21 Harvard Technology and Democracy Fellowship for his leadership of Facebook’s Canadian Election Integrity Initiative.

Kevin graduated from Harvard Kennedy School, the Ivey Business School and the Royal Conservatory of Music. An Action Canada Fellow, he is the recipient of the Public Service Award of Excellence, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal. In 2022, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

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David Torre

Owner and Principal Consultant,
Center Mast

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David has over twenty-five years of information technology and engineering experience across both the public and private sectors. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology, and a Master of Science degree in Business Intelligence. He specializes in the intersection of business technology, data, and security. David is currently the owner and principal consultant of Center Mast Consulting; a business technology strategy firm which has helped some of the most recognizable brands in the world build innovative business capabilities through automation, artificial intelligence, and data analysis.

David resides in the Houston Texas metropolitan area and is an outdoorsman who joined AquaAction to protect freshwater in North America.