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REF NO.: 8

SUBJECT: Genesis board of directors welcomes Valerie Fox and Karl Smith

DATE: Oct. 19

Genesis, Memorial University’s innovation hub for high-growth technology ventures, has two new additions to its board of directors.

The Board of Regents at Memorial University appointed Valerie Fox and Karl Smith on Sept. 30.

“The board of directors at Genesis is thrilled to have Valerie and Karl join,” said board chair Fred Cahill. “Their experience and guidance at the board table will go a long way in helping Genesis achieve its mission of helping to build amazing technology companies in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Valerie Fox

Valerie Fox is the co-founder and former executive director of the Digital Media Zone (DMZ), Ryerson University’s world-leading incubator for technology startups in Canada. She was responsible for executing its development and growth, as well as facilitating the growth of the Zone Experience Model, which is being sought by numerous universities around the world. The DMZ is one of the most talked about tech incubators in Canada, attracting and fostering the growth of more than 190 companies with more than 1,900 associated jobs in just five years. It’s been ranked the No. 1 university business incubator in North America and No. 3 in the world. Ms. Fox left the DMZ in 2015 and launched The Pivotal Point, which shares its unique model for fostering entrepreneurship to bring insights on innovation, creativity and synergy to organizations developing their own incubators and accelerators.  

“It’s a special honour to join the Genesis board,” said Ms. Fox. “Genesis has already done so much for the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and I’m thrilled to be welcomed into supporting their plans for the future.”

Karl Smith

Karl Smith (B.Comm.’81) is well-known in the Newfoundland and Labrador business community, having spent a successful 30-year career with Fortis, most prominently in the role of chief financial officer. Thanks in large part to his contributions, Fortis grew from a small group of less than 10 employees to the largest investor-owned gas and electric distribution utility company in Canada and now among the top 15 in North America, with $1 billion in adjusted net earnings in 2017. After concluding his time with Fortis in 2018, Mr. Smith continues to be committed to numerous community initiatives, including Memorial’s Faculty of Business Administration’s advisory board, Junior Achievement and Young Adult Cancer Canada. He is also enthusiastic about helping local startups and small business thrive.

“I am very excited and enthused to join the board of Genesis,” said Mr. Smith. “It has been an exciting few years for the centre, and I sense that there is so much opportunity ahead. Genesis is such an important part of the startup community in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

The two join a highly experienced board at Genesis, representing a unique cross-section of industry, academia and not-for-profit talent. Ms. Fox and Mr. Smith follow the recent appointments of Dr. Isabelle Dostaler, dean, Faculty of Business Administration, Memorial University; Mark Andrews, legal counsel, Exxon Mobil; and Jason Quann, chief revenue officer, Verafin. The board governs the Genesis Group and helps to set the strategic direction for the Genesis team. It also plays an instrumental role in the expansion of the organization and the growth of its client base.

About Genesis
Genesis, established in 1997, exists to help build amazing companies. Genesis clients and graduates have raised more than $615 million in private investment, generated more than $200 million in annual revenues and created more than 2,000 jobs. Genesis alumni are part of some of the top companies in Canada, including Verafin, Rutter, Mysa, Virtual Marine and Genoa Design. To learn more about Genesis and its innovative programming, visit the website.

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