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HELLO. MY NAME IS

CAROLYN

VAN

It's nice to meet you. I am relentlessly passionate about leading different levers at the intersection of innovation, design and technology to build a better future.  My experience across ecosystems - directly with communities, technology startups, corporate institutions as well as not-for-profits - means that I address challenges systemically, holistically, deeply and sustainably. 

 

I've spent my career designing, growing and leading initiatives and ventures that contribute to the how, what, by whom, for whom of innovation. This has led me to work and partner with national and global organizations in various industries including Education, Healthcare, Telecom and IoT and take part in shaping future ofs. 

 

Common themes in my work have involved fostering and being a resource for startup founders and technical talent, leading programs and strategic initiatives from ideation to go-to-market, securing and managing strategic partnerships, leading expansion and scale-up and deepening organizational impact. I have been actively involved with Startup Ecosystems, identifying gaps and opportunities in the startup and fundraising ecosystem, leading events and programs for entrepreneurs, mentoring and advising with innovation centres and facilitating and designing workshops for founders.

I believe in putting intention behind constantly learning and adapting through our ever-evolving world and therefore selves, contributing to a future far beyond my time and that just as ecosystems are designed - prosperous, sustainable, meaningful and successful innovation will be a result of many. Experience working cross-functionally means that advisees, clients, mentees and collaborators of mine have included post secondary students, girls and women in STEAM and leadership, sales managers, software developers, CEOs, Executive Directors, HR professionals, K-12 educators, municipal government public servants and agile coaches.

I am known for being entrepreneurial, highly adaptable, systems and strategic thinking, having the "perfect blend of strategic and implementation skills", being a professional dot-connector and relationship builder, creatively solving problems and being one heck of an injection of organizational growth.

 

If you would like some power behind a particular milestone, objective, opportunity or initiative - let's connect. 

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Product

“We went from developing a product that people “could see” themselves using to developing a product people “will” use and that all stemmed from us making a conscious effort to hone in on the value that we were aiming to deliver to our consumers. This is what Carolyn is able to bring to the table.”  - Yohannes T., Product at Google

“She doesn't bury the lead or sugar-coat anything; As learned from our discussions about my own startup which helped broaden my understanding on building a superior product. -  Will D., Content at Unbox Therapy

Partnerships & Fundraising

We were not optimistic that we would be able to move ahead (debut Canadian market launch). And then Carolyn joined the team. And wow, what a difference! Through her energy, bold-nature, persistence, awesome ideas and wide connections we just rocketed forward.

 

By the cut-off date, we had more attendees than we needed and she had expanded our financial, community and media partners to boot. The event was a roaring success and had the largest attendance of any Lean Startup Machine in the world. And I credit a lot of that success to Carolyn.

 

Carolyn is thoughtful, empathetic, focused and always knows how to plan and execute the next move. I would love an opportunity to work with Carolyn again … and so should you.”

-  Declan, Agile at LeanIntuit 

I have been invited to advise and speak to audiences and teams from national and global organizations and outlets.

Topics have included the
economic, business, social and global impact of diversity, equity and inclusion; leadershipstartups and entrepreneurship; technology; tackling complex problems; innovation; systems design and future ofs.

 

SPEAKING & MEDIA

House of Commons, Parliament of Canada · City of Toronto ·

The University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy · Oxfam Canada · Historica Canada · Pearson Education  · Canadian Film Centre (CFC) Medial Lab

Humber College · York University · Ryerson University ·

George Brown College · University of Guelph · Sheridan College

The Globe & Mail · The Toronto Star ·

Financial Post · The National Post ·

CTV News Technology Expert ·

Canada Business Review

Lean Startup Machine Conference

Ontario Library Association Superconference

Global Entrepreneurship Week Conference 

Junior Achievement National Conference
Digital Odyssey Conference 

Bridging The Gap Conference

SocialHR Camp Unconference

Social Media Week Conference

The Canadian Institute Conference 

Discover Your Personal Brand Conference 

Start Something Big Conference

Pod Camp Conference

Media Planet

She Does The City 
Talent Egg
Sage Canada

TEACH Magazine

Mobile User Experience Group

Toronto Product Management Association

Tangerine (formerly ING Direct)

...and more.
 

 
Get in touch
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