At AquaAction, our 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.
Our Team and Board of Directors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Blaine Favel is Founder of First Peoples Pipeline, CEO of Kanata Earth, and President of Battle River Bison, a not for profit focused on bringing the bison back. Mr. Favel served as the University of Saskatchewan’s chancellor from 2013 to 2016. Mr. Favel is member of Poundmaker Cree Nation and an influential Plains Cree leader who has made significant contributions to scholarship, education, public service and the Canadian public good.
In addition to a Bachelor of Education, Mr. Favel has a law degree from Queen’s University and an MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business. He was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Saskatchewan in 2012.
During his term as Chancellor, Mr. Favel played a key role in guiding the university’s planning and actions in Indigenous education and engagement. In the fall of 2015, alongside President Stoicheff, Mr. Favel co-hosted the first Building Reconciliation National Forum, where Aboriginal and university leaders gathered to discuss how universities across Canada can respond to the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Mr. Favel worked to ensure that this first forum was the beginning of what has now become an annual gathering hosted by Canadian universities.
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.
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.
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