by Taylor McAuliffe
We are honoured to present the inaugural Altitude Accelerator Award for Board Excellence to Shirley Speakman. This award recognizes an outstanding individual who goes above and beyond the role of governance and underscores the importance of effective board leadership in driving success and long-term value to the innovation ecosystem.
Shirley Speakman has been a member of the board for Altitude Accelerator since 2015 and has helped Altitude Accelerator make significant organizational and program changes over the years. Speakman’s influence has been especially felt in the creation and success of our incubator and investor readiness program, which have empowered countless entrepreneurs to achieve their goals.
As well, this award recognizes Speakman’s remarkable efforts in facilitating connections and partnerships through her personal network, including helping to facilitate collaborations with key entities such as Brampton Venture Zone by TMU, Sheridan, Algoma, University of Toronto (Mississauga), the Brampton Board of Trade, BHive, CanCham Vietnam, Rogers CyberSecure Catalyst, Canadian Blockchain Supply Chain Association, Bereskin Parr, and Pallett Valo.
Andrew Opala, Altitude Accelerator Board Chairman, expressed profound gratitude for the leadership and dedication that Speakman brought to the board;
“Shirley went over and above the expected time dedication, and championed several initiatives that greatly improved the community value of the Altitude Accelerator. She wrapped the rebranding of the RIC Centre in easy to understand terms to help the board and stakeholders cooperate in a smooth transition to a fantastic name; was a positive force for inclusion at all levels of activities of Altitude, brought a high bar of professionalism to her own activities, and by example invited the rest of the board to join this level of activities.”
Speakman’s dedication to assisting entrepreneurs has been paramount to Altitude’s ability to adapt and respond to ever-changing needs in the industry. In the face of challenges due to COVID-19, Altitude was able to quickly migrate programing to a digital format and provide resources to clients that may not otherwise have been able to access them.
Although Speakman is retiring from her position on the Board of Directors, she anticipates a future of growth and opportunities for Altitude. Speakman is excited about the potential opportunities that a powerful combination between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cleantech will bring–one of the most transformative technologies humans have invented directly addressing one of the most existential threats to humans. Speakman emphasizes AI has the potential to help humanity more rapidly adjust to the world that lies ahead, and Altitude Accelerator is strapped with the resources to be a part of this;
“I believe that Canada, Ontario and the Altitude will be at the forefront of this transformation. Not only are some of the most innovative AI tech companies being grown in our backyard but the GTA is home to a large population of this country’s biggest companies (manufacturing, transport, finance, entertainment, energy etc) aka customers and a pool of entrepreneurs who have already proven the ability to leverage the introduction of new technology to create solutions. Layer on top of that one of the cleanest, most efficient and reliable grids in the world and you have all the right ingredients to create a global player.”
Speakman’s unwavering commitment to Altitude’s mission and vision has been instrumental in our success as a not-for-profit innovation hub. On behalf of everyone at Altitude Accelerator and all of the entrepreneurs who have come through our programs during your time, thank you!
If you are interested in joining our incredible network of engaged volunteers and investors who work to continuously support and drive the innovation ecosystem, contact us. Or if you want to learn more about what Altitude can do for you, learn more about our entrepreneur services here.