Wednesday, July 11, 2018 — 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT

Waterloo empowers entrepreneurs to go beyond.

Entrepreneurs are natural problem solvers. Beyond creating companies that bring innovative and world-changing ideas to the global market place, entrepreneurs are increasingly acting as community builders, industry change agents, and global disruptors.

Find out why.

Join us on Wednesday, July 11 for a candid conversation on why entrepreneurs are stepping up to build stronger communities, both locally and globally. Hear from a successful entrepreneur leading by example, the director of a leading entrepreneurship program and Canada's most productive startup incubator, and the President and vice-chancellor of Canada’s most innovative university who counts entrepreneurship as part of the school’s DNA as they explore concepts of philanthropy, equality, and socially responsibility in today’s dynamic entrepreneur-led companies. Find out why societal benefit has become an important priority for entrepreneurs and a few suggestions for getting started.

Q&A discussion with the audience to follow. 

Panelists will include:

  • Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor, University of Waterloo 
  • Sam Pasupalak, former chief executive officer and co-founder, Maluuba
  • Jay Shah, director, Velocity

The panel will be moderated by Donna Litt, co-founder, vice-president and chief operating officer, Kiite. 

Welcome remarks by Stephen M. Watt, dean, Faculty of Mathematics.

Open to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the public. Register now!


Sam PasupalakSam Pasupalak

Sam Pasupalak grew up in India, moving to Canada to start his degree in computer science at the University of Waterloo. While in the Velocity Residence, Pasupalak co-founded Maluuba and the team was awarded the Velocity Venture Fund in the fall of 2011. The Canadian artificial intelligence company was based on providing an interface that provides voice-activated results based on user questions. After successful funding rounds, Maluuba opened their Waterloo headquarters in 2012. Over the next few years Maluuba launched their technology across millions of smartphones and smart TVs worldwide including partnerships with Samsung, LG and Blackberry. The business expanded to Montreal in 2015 where they began working with researchers at University of Montreal to make AI more openly accessible to the global research community. In 2017, Maluuba was acquired by Microsoft for an undisclosed sum. Currently, Pasupalak is travelling around the world and giving back to the communities where he built his passion.

Feridun HamdullahpurFeridun Hamdullahpur

Feridun Hamdullahpur has been an engineer, educator and leader over the span of his more than 35-year career in research and higher education. Since 2010, Dr. Hamdullahpur has served as the sixth President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waterloo.

A professor of mechanical engineering, Dr. Hamdullahpur holds a PhD in chemical engineering from the Technical University of Nova Scotia after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the Technical University of Istanbul.
As President of the University of Waterloo, Dr. Hamdullahpur has devoted his tenure to fostering excellence in academics and research, with a dedication to developing an innovative culture committed to experiential education. Through President Hamdullahpur’s stewardship, the University of Waterloo has remained Canada’s most innovative university for 26 consecutive years.

Throughout his career, Dr. Hamdullahpur has been an active researcher in thermo-fluids and energy engineering, a passionate teacher and an academic administrator. He has authored hundreds of scientific and academic publications and supervised over 50 graduate students. He was named a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering in 2014. He has served in various academic and administrative roles, most recently as a Vice-President Academic and Provost at the University of Waterloo.

President Hamdullahpur’s central motivation is ensuring that the impact of university education, research and scholarship on our broader society is maximized through constant reform and innovation in the higher education sector. He is a leading advocate for the value of basic research and its relevance to academic excellence, economic prosperity and societal development.

His current focus at the University of Waterloo is expanding its lead in innovation, building on Waterloo’s long-standing and emerging strengths in co-operative education, research, entrepreneurship and equity.

In 2015 President Hamdullahpur was appointed chair of the new Leadership Council for Digital Infrastructure, an ambitious initiative to build a world leading digital infrastructure ecosystem for Canada. He is also proud to have been one of ten global university presidents appointed to the United Nation’s HeforShe Impact 10x10x10 campaign to engage boys and men in the cause of gender equity.

The President continues to serve in many roles on committees and boards including as Chair of the Waterloo Global Science Initiative since 2016, an active member of the Sorbonne Université Strategic Orientation Committee since 2014, and as a member of the King Abdulaziz University International Advisory Board since 2017.

In acknowledgement of President Hamdullahpur’s leadership in education and innovation, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in January 2013.

Jay ShahJay Shah

As the Director of Velocity, Jay advocates for entrepreneurship and provides guidance to startups to help them build successful businesses. Jay is passionate about enabling all contributors of the Waterloo-Toronto start-up ecosystem to punch above the region’s collective weight. Jay began his entrepreneurship journey 12 years ago at the University of Waterloo while pursuing a degree in Mechatronics Engineering. During his studies, he co-founded BufferBox, which was ultimately acquired by Google, where Jay worked for 3.5 years before joining Velocity.

Donna LittDonna Litt

Donna is Co-Founder and COO at Kiite. After graduating from the University of Toronto with an Honours degree specializing in Archaeology, she spent a decade optimizing customer experiences and business operations in both the nonprofit and ICT sectors. As a dynamic and analytical leader, she has owned a wide array of functions — from customer development and retention, to recruiting and compliance. With her first novel due to be published in 2018, Donna is an author and STEAM evangelist with today’s youth. She invests in helping women educated in non-technology related fields find success in Canada’s growing ICT sector.

Stephen M. WattStephen M. Watt

Stephen M. Watt is Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Professor in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. He previously held the title of Distinguished University Professor at Western University, where he served for periods as Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Director of the Ontario Research Centre for Computer Algebra. Prior to this, he held positions at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights (USA) and INRIA and the University of Nice (France). 

Professor Watt’s areas of research include algorithms and systems for computer algebra, programming languages and compilers, mathematical handwriting recognition and document analysis. He was one of the original authors of the Maple and Axiom computer algebra systems, principal architect of the Aldor programming language and its compiler at IBM Research, and is co-author of the MathML and InkML W3C standards.

Watt was a co-founder of Maplesoft in 1988 and served on its board of directors from 1998 to 2009. He served on the board of directors of the Descartes Systems Group (TSE:DSG, NASDAQ:DSGX) from 2001 to 2015, including two periods as Board Chair. He currently serves on the boards of the Numerical Algorithms Group Ltd. and of the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation.

Professor Watt is the recipient of numerous distinctions, including Doctor honoris causa from the University of the West (Romania), the J.W. Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation (Waterloo) and the Outstanding Innovation Award (IBM). 

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Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1

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