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Northwest innovation centre selects new leader

Long-time executive director Judy Sander retires after close to 20 years
Judy Sander, Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre.

Kendall Williams is the new executive director of the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre in Thunder Bay.

She replaces Judy Sander who has retired.

Williams previously held the position of program coordinator with the centre in supporting innovator and startup companies over the last eight years.

“With this team – this board and this community – I am ready to take on the challenge of supporting and serving the needs of all innovative companies, and those that contribute to creating a world-class innovation system for Northwestern Ontario,” Williams said in a statement.

“I am honoured and excited to have been selected to lead the organization at this time.”

A news release praised Sander’s work over two decades through challenging times and times of growth.

“In all of her decisions and actions, she has maintained one key priority; that innovative companies find the support and resources they need to succeed in the region.”

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Board chair Eric Tribe said Sander’s tenure leaves a legacy.

“There is no doubt that Judy’s legacy will continue on in the priorities of the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre and in the lives of innovators and entrepreneurs across the region. She has inspired the innovation eco-system and led the organization to deliver high quality business advisory services. The work that Judy has accomplished will continue to benefit the region for years to come.

“We are confident that Kendall’s talents and experience will continue the organization’s success for the generations to come,” he added.

Before joining the innovation centre in 2000, Sander worked at the City of Thunder Bay’s Entrepreneur Centre in the early 1990s. She was born and raised in Atikokan and is a graduate of Lakehead University’s commerce program. The Innovation Centre works out of a building on the campus at Confederation College.