Amit Sandhu, Managing Director
Amit is a real estate developer and investor at Ampri Group. Amit believes it is important to invest in the social fabric that makes communities desirable to live in. Amit has worked with Richmond Hospital Foundation to establish the first Patient- and Family-Centred Model of Care for individuals living with mental health and addiction issues in British Columbia. His affinity for the arts led him to sponsor and co-develop a first-of-its-kind undergraduate course on the Social Practice of Public Art at Emily Carr University. As an early adopter of energy-efficient building programs, Amit built 59 of 200 homes in the pilot program for the BuiltGreenBC and Energuide for New Homes Initiatives. He is currently building B.C.’s first solar-powered, 30 home single-family home subdivision. Amit has been recognized by Business in Vancouver’s Forty Under 40 Award and served on the City of Richmond’s Economic Advisory Committee from 2011-2016. Amit holds a degree in Human Resource Management from the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University.
Rattan Bagga, Managing Director
When Rattan refers to himself as a "wholesome entrepreneur," he isn't referring only to the organic granola and gluten-free treats that New World Natural manufactures. Rattan Bagga has been the CEO of New World Natural Foods, a Canadian organic foods manufacturer, since 2010. Mr. Bagga was also recognized as one of the top 20 under 30 entrepreneurs in Canada in 2011/2012. His belief in 'maximizing the benefits of his decisions on those around him,' also translated into raising funds for charitable initiatives such as the disaster relief in Pakistan and Haiti, as well as sourcing ingredients from local sources (e.g. Canadian farmers) as much as possible. Rattan's latest initiative has been the launch of Everland Natural Foods coconut water, where proceeds from each sale go towards supporting farmers in India. Everland Natural Foods was recognized as the Business of the Year by the Burnaby Business Excellence Awards.
Jo-Anne McKee, Director of Education
Jo-Anne was the first YELL teacher and has played an instrumental role in shaping and contributing to its educational practices and culture. She is a hiking trail-lover, teacher, and Athletic Director at West Vancouver Secondary School. Teaching is her second career, and she absolutely loves being a part of the educational and athletic adventures of her students. Jo-Anne is lucky to have been a part of YELL since the beginning; and is so proud of how it has grown from a small passion project of our founders to now a YELL community sharing an even bigger collective passion project!
Vivian Chan, Operations Manager
Vivian has a background in marketing and sales and event management and has been working with Canadian tech companies and startups for the last 10 years. She has served as the National Accelerator Operations Manager at Wavefront and was in charge of programs and partnerships across Canada as well as managed their coworking space, community and multiple events as well as helped Lighthouse Labs launch the new Devhub in Vancouver. She is now working with multiple organizations, including YELL Canada, on various projects and initiatives. Passionate about supporting entrepreneurs and giving back to her community, she currently serves as Co-Chair of Vancouver Startup Week. In her spare time, you'll find Vivian volunteering, attending a fun event or concert and petting every dog that she meets.
Katty Wang, Operations Manager
Katty is a seasoned professional with knowledge and experience in civil engineering, organizational psychology, and entrepreneurship. After obtaining her professional designation as a professional engineer, Katty co-founded a technology startup and was in charge of its operations, marketing, and sales initiatives, applying the problem-solving skills she has acquired while working as an engineer. The combination of being an entrepreneur and learning about intrinsic human motivation as a part her psychology studies reinforced her passion in helping other entrepreneurs, including the inspired ones in high school and universities, to embrace their individuality and maximize their potentials. Katty is currently working as the Operations Manager at Granted Consulting, to empower small businesses with government grants. She also serves as Co-Chair of Vancouver Startup Week, where she can help local small businesses and startups to connect and collaborate together. In her spare time, Katty is actively speaking and mentoring aspired entrepreneurs in local schools, new immigrant groups, and programs including YELL Canada, hoping that her experience would shed light on how to establish a future in Vancouver as an entrepreneur.
Georgiy Sekretaryuk, Ambassador Program Advisor
Georgiy is a Computer Science and Mathematics student at Simon Fraser University, a Youth Ambassador at YELL, and a software developer. Through YELL, Georgiy began working on NERO, a smart jewelry line that lets you call for help at the tap of a button. At NERO, Georgiy focuses on product development and manufacturing of the technology behind the smart gems. His work has been featured in the BC Business Magazine and he has been the recipient of Surrey's Top 25 Under 25 award. As an enthusiastic problem-solver passionate about giving back to the community, his goal is to improve the future for generations to come, and Georgiy hopes that with his efforts, he will be able to create a better and safer world for people to live in.
Sagar Saxena - Community Engagement and Development
Born and raised in India, Sagar’s passion for international business led him to pursue graduate studies from Cardiff University in the U.K. After completing his MBA in 2009, Sagar returned to India and began Caravan O Herbs, an agriculture-based company with the vision of combatting unethical business practices and unreliable supply chains through corporate social responsibility. Eventually Caravan O Herbs carved a niche for itself within India, Europe and the United States. In 2014, Sagar shifted with his family to Canada and shortly thereafter joined the University of Northern British Columbia’s Research Office, focusing on partnerships and new initiatives. In late 2016, Sagar began a career with School District 91 as the first Community Engagement & Partnerships Officer. While promoting and nurturing new strategic alliances for SD91 –Nechako Lakes, Sagar is committed to exploring and nurturing models of sustainable economic growth within the remote communities of northern British Columbia.
During his years in Northern B.C., Sagar has initiated several programs which continue to generate large funding, drive economic development and create accessible opportunities for rural communities and its youth. Within the last 4 years, two of his self-initiated projects were showcased by the B.C. Government. Sagar is also an Entrepreneur in Residence for Hub Space in Prince George, an early stage Angel Investor and the Lead Consultant for YELL Canada in Northern BC.
In 2018, Sagar was selected as a Top 40 under 40 by the Prince George Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, Sagar plays an active role in many boards and organizations throughout British Columbia; Board member of Women’s Enterprise Centre, Advisory board of Our Satya Foundation, Representative of BC India Business Network, Business Development Advisor for Venture Capitals and Start Up Companies in B.C.
Matt Hutcheon - Community Engagement and Development
Matt has 25 years of experience in advising businesses, non-profits and First Nations. His expertise focuses on building and using financial systems and reporting to enable better planning, financial management and decision-making by organizations. His work with clients often includes elements of business strategy and growth.
In addition to running his own consulting practice and a few other entrepreneurial ventures, Matt has had plenty of involvement in programs and organizations which support entrepreneurs, both in staff and volunteer roles. Matt was the CEO of the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce for nearly three years before his move to British Columbia in 2014. In Prince George, Matt served as the Executive Director for Innovation Central Society, a regional technology accelerator, from April 2016 to the end of 2017.
On a volunteer basis, Matt has been involved as an advisor to the Enactus chapter at St. Lawrence College and the AIESEC chapter at Queen’s University. He held national and international leadership positions with Junior Chamber International (JCI) and is currently on the Board of the Prince George Chamber of Commerce.
Shauna Harper - Community Engagement and Programs Coordinator
Shauna Harper is excited to be the Community Engagement and Programs Coordinator for Yell Canada's North team. She has been a full-time entrepreneur for 19 years; previously owning a manufacturing company and currently as a marketing and communications contractor for a number of social impact organizations in BC. She is a strong advocate for women entrepreneurs and youth leadership development. Shauna was recognized as one of BC's Most Influential Women in 2017 (Mentors Edition) by BC Business Magazine for her mentorship roles as founder and lead for Startup Prince George. More recently in 2019, she was appointed to the Federal Government’s expert panel advising on the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy in Canada.
Punit is also the co-founder and CEO of OncoSec Medical, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company developing its advanced-stage immunotherapy to treat solid tumors. Punit was formerly Vice President of Finance and Operations at Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In his management experience, Punit has raised over $160 million through multiple financings and several licensing deals including early stage deals with Merck and Wyeth. More recently, Punit has been leading the development of a pipeline of novel immunotherapy candidates for a wide range of solid tumor applications at OncoSec with an industry leading technology. Punit’s management experience spans corporate finance, M&A, integration, successful in-licensing of key intellectual property, strategy implementation, corporate transactions and collaborations with leading Universities and working with several key opinion leaders across the globe. As a serial entrepreneur, Mr. Dhillon places great value on helping future leaders overcome challenges through mentorship and education. Mr. Dhillon is an active member in his community focused on promoting an active lifestyle and grass roots community involvement, including scholarships to support students pursuing post-secondary education. He is also the founder of becancerpositive.org a community dedicated to sharing and connecting; highlighting stories from around the globe and creating a platform where people can share with others their own unique experiences with cancer and help people find their own silver lining. In 2013, he was recognized as the "Top 100" CEOs by PharmaVoice and "Most Admired CEO" by the San Diego Business Journal. In 2014, he was recognized as a finalist for Ernst & Young’s "Entrepreneur of the Year." Punit holds a Bachelor of Arts with honors in Political Science and a minor in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University.
Dr. Sarah Lubik
Sarah is Simon Fraser University (SFU)'s first Director of Entrepreneurship, promoting the power of, and need for, interdisciplinary teams and commercialization of research to solve wicked problems. She is co-Champion of the Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU program, a lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Beedie School of Business and a researcher in technology management, including incubation, university entrepreneurship, commercialization and innovation ecosystems. Sarah has been named one of Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40 and an Innovation Leader by the Government of Canada. She is also a certified business coach and the co-founder of a high-tech startup: Lungfish Dive Systems. Sarah holds a BBA (honours) from SFU and a masters and PhD from the University of Cambridge.
Amit Sandhu (Chair)