December 1, 2020
Innovate Edmonton’s Board of Directors has recruited media-tech, investment and entrepreneurial powerhouse Catherine Warren as its new CEO. Warren’s comprehensive understanding of digital and sustainable economies, long standing service to major Canadian innovation funds and leadership in top startup ecosystems will be powerful assets for Innovate Edmonton and its partners.
To champion innovation in Edmonton, Edmonton’s City Council approved Innovate Edmonton’s formation and confirmed $5 million in annual funding, following an extensive community consultation.
“This pandemic has stressed that innovation and diversification will be essential to building a more resilient economy. I’m glad Innovate Edmonton has selected an entrepreneurial CEO with a global approach to join our community. Thanks to the Board’s efforts, we welcome Catherine as a convener and change-maker in this new role,” said Mayor Don Iveson.
Warren reports to the Chair of Innovate Edmonton’s independent Board of prominent business and investment stakeholders. Chosen in a competitive national search, she brings to the table an extensive international network and distinguished career contributions to Canada’s business, finance, academic and community-engagement ecosystems.
“Catherine will launch and lead our new organization with the right blend of start-up business, high-impact investment and city-building acumen,” said Board Chair Naseem Bashir. “Now is a critical time for Edmonton and the world as we tackle major challenges that need innovative solutions. Catherine’s inventiveness, risk-taking and collaborative vision unanimously impressed Innovate Edmonton’s Board as a great match for our city’s spirit, strengths and positioning.”
Moving ahead, Warren will build a team focused on supporting Edmonton’s entrepreneurs, impact businesses, universities, cultural organizations, First Nations and other groups, united in growing Edmonton’s innovation economy and positioning Edmonton on the global stage. To reinforce the city’s climate resilience goals, Innovate Edmonton will also help companies making significant advances in clean energy, decarbonization, and green buildings. Additionally, it will support many others engaged in the resource economy’s “just transition,” where no opportunities are left unchecked.
“I am incredibly honoured to join a community of experimentalists, thinkers and disruptors as we take on the world’s greatest innovation challenges — from health to sustainability to social equality — where Edmonton’s leadership and values shine, and are needed most,” said CEO Warren. “As a start-up and venture catalyst, Innovate Edmonton is embarking on an exciting trajectory at a pivotal time. I look forward to building collaborative relationships and making real gains together for innovation across all sectors and communities.”
Catherine Warren Biography
Living and working in Canada, the US, UK and Europe, Warren has served as a C-suite executive for publicly-traded companies, academic institutions and government-business enterprises. Most recently, as Chief Executive Officer of Vancouver Economic Commission, she led the team in attracting $3 billion in foreign direct investment to the region, with a portfolio including the Vancouver Film Commission, the world’s largest animation and visual effects sector, smart cities technologies such as AI, 5G and quantum computing and the green and impact economies. In more than two decades as a tech advisor, Warren’s track-record includes mergers and acquisitions for digital distribution and digital IP, raising capital and liquidity events for tech companies, consulting to national media funds, hedge funds, crowdfunds and coaching executives on strategic growth and monetization. Earlier in her career, she was the start-up COO of a broadcast software company that she and her partners took to the Nasdaq and grew to a $300 million market cap. Warren has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, with a focus on climate change, and a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York, where she did her original thesis work onsite at MIT covering the launch of its digital Media Lab.
About Innovate Edmonton
Innovate Edmonton, formed in May 2020 by Edmonton’s City Council and led by an independent Board, is mandated to champion innovation in Edmonton. With Edmonton one of the youngest and fastest-growing cities in Canada, innovation plays a crucial role in shaping a diverse, resilient, and creative economy. The future of Edmonton’s economy will benefit from creative entrepreneurs and traditional industries engaged in digital, environmental and social transformation. This new non-profit entity has an exceptional opportunity to support and guide the innovation community to build, prosper and make a difference here and internationally.
Edmonton’s economy is one of the most diverse in Canada, with strengths in technology, artificial intelligence, agribusiness and health sciences. Rapidly approaching a milestone of 1 million people, Alberta’s capital city is among Canada’s fastest-growing cities, with significant youth and indigenous populations. Rich culture, arts and a strong social fabric add to the city’s vibrancy and innovation landscape. Edmonton’s renowned research and post-secondary institutions turn out thousands of graduates each year, who are ready to work, eager to bring their ideas to life in Canada’s most affordable major city and take Edmonton to the world.
Edmonton was founded on Treaty 6 territory, the traditional lands of First Nations and Métis people. Innovate Edmonton recognizes and acknowledges the ongoing contributions and impact of First Peoples, whose presence enriches our thriving community.