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Private Sector Advisory Board (PSAB)

The Private Sector Advisory Board (PSAB) is a body of high-level, seasoned and respected individuals from a variety of sectors who understand the national and international challenges associated with Canada’s R&D and commercialization landscape. PSAB was established by the Networks of Centres of Excellence at the request of the Government of Canada in 2007.

PSAB provides the NCE Steering Committee with expert advice and recommendations during the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) and Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE) competition processes. PSAB evaluates proposals based on their ability to create a strategic, long-term economic advantage for Canada.


(Chair) Luis Barreto

Luis Barreto

(Chair) Luis Barreto has 30 years of experience in academia, public health and industry. Dr. Barreto is currently the President of the consultancy Dr. Luis Barreto and Associates. He is the former Vice-President of Clinical and Medical Affairs and Vice-President of Immunization and Science Policy at Sanofi Pasteur where he spent more than 23 years in research and development, leading clinical trials and shaping immunization policy in Canada and around the world. He led the clinical development and commercialization of many vaccines, including technologies such as acellular pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b and polio combinations for children, adolescents and adults. These vaccines bring over a billion dollars yearly in sales back to the Canadian economy and reduce disease and death around the world. Dr. Barreto has been part of the Canadian pandemic influenza vaccine scientific advisory groups led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Infection and Immunity, and the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. He has also been part of Health Canada’s Policy Advisory Committee. Dr. Barreto is a member of various boards including Research Canada, PREVENT, VIDO/InterVac (ex-Chair). He has also been appointed as the member of the Policy and Public Support working group of the Decade of Vaccines of the Gates Foundation, Senior Advisor to the National Research Council Canada Vaccine Group and Biosciences Education Canada. Dr. Barreto spends considerable time in philanthropic activities with organizations like Health Partners International and Non-Governmental Organizations. He has been recently appointed to the Board of the March of Dimes. Dr. Barreto completed his M.B.B.S and M.D. in Community Medicine in India and M.H.Sc in Community Health and Epidemiology at University of Toronto.

Suhayya Abu-Hakima

Suhayya "Sue" Abu-Hakima is a Canadian technology entrepreneur and inventor of artificial intelligence (AI) applications for wireless communication and computer security. Dr. Abu-Hakima is a rare woman tech entrepreneur with a reputation for excellence & innovation. As a successful three-time start-up founder/CEO, she has formed boards of directors & advisors & directed business strategy, ensuring product development matches customer need. Her first start-up, AmikaNow! spun from government R&D labs, focussed on AI and automatic content analysis. She also has served on Dalhousie University’s Big Data Institute & McGill’s Innovation Board. In 2018, she joined the ENCQOR board with a smart city focus & connected vehicles. Sue holds over 45 International patents in AI, and as many as 35 Global Companies have cited her pioneering patents including Google, Apple and Ford. Sue is a multiple award winner including 6 US GOVIES & ASIS Judge’s Choice & Security’s Best in emergency communications, Top 10 Angel Backed company Nationally, Top 25 Women of Influence and Top 100 Most Powerful by the WXN in the Trailblazer Category. A frequent speaker on entrepreneurship, AI, security, messaging and wireless, she has published and presented more than 125 professional papers and holds 30 international patents in the fields of content analysis, messaging, and security. Sue indeed is an inspiring leader as she was invested into the Order of Ontario in 2011 and honored with Queen Elizabeth II Medal for Service to Canada in June 2012. She has been an adjunct professor in the School of Information Technology and Engineering at the University of Ottawa and has mentored many high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in science and technology more commonly known as STEM now. She was named to the Order of Ontario, the province's highest honor, in 2011 for innovation and her work in public safety and computer security technology.

Vikas Arora

Vikas Arora

Vikas Arora was nominated EXFO's Chief Technology Officer in July 2008. He is responsible for the company's technological direction, specifically strategic technology and business initiatives covering next-generation fixed mobile converged networks, 3G/LTE, IMS, SDN/NFV, mobile backhaul, optical networks, Carrier Ethernet/IP and services like VoLTE, video, voice and data. Prior to joining EXFO, Mr. Arora was Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of iPine Networks (acquired by Nakina Systems), which offered IP service assurance products for voice, video and data. He served as CTO of Nakina Systems and also spent 10 years at Nortel in Ottawa and Harlow (UK), where he held senior management and architect positions. Overall, Mr. Arora has over 20 years of technical and business leadership experience working with mobile and fixed network operators, system integrators and equipment vendors globally. In 2004, he was named by the editors of the Ottawa Business Journal to its annual "Forty Under 40" list as one of the region's best and brightest business and civic leaders. Mr. Arora also serves on the advisory board of the Information and Communications Technologies Sector of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Technology from G.B. Pant University in India and a Master of Science (Computer Science) from the University of Saskatchewan.

Tabitha Creighton

Tabitha Creighton is SVP, Payments for iQmetrix, one of the largest providers of payment solutions in North America. Tabitha is a veteran founder, most recently as CEO of InvestNextDoor, the first debt-securities crowdfunding platform for small business. She continues to be a director and advisor for numerous start-ups, and is a passionate advocate for diversity in financial markets. Tabitha leads business operations for Scotiabank’s Digital bank, where she is accountable for business planning, budgeting and operational finance, organizational change management, operations management, business performance, vendors and partner management, risk and the PMO. She is a proven C-level transformation executive who has created more than $1B in impact across her career, having a unique breadth of expertise spanning customer experience and operations management, product design and management as well as leading B2B sales and new business development. Tabitha Creighton is passionate about helping women advance in the technology sector. In November 2008, the 37-year-old, Toronto-born business-strategy consultant helped found the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance Women in Technology Forum, which officially launched in June 2009. Creighton, who lives in New Westminster, is one of the chapter's cochairs and also serves on CATA WIT’s national executive committee.

Ron Schwartz

Ron Schwartz

Ron Schwartz is the managing partner of Adante Consulting, a senior executive, with experience in business strategy and execution, analytics, technology strategy, and the management of large change programs. He has served, on several occasions, in an interim management role as a line executive with operational responsibility. He also serves on a number of Boards or Councils, giving him a very broad view of enterprise stewardship and governance. He is actively involved in the delivery of consulting engagements, both at Adante and its subsidiary RiskOnBoard which focuses on Enterprise Risk Management. Equally comfortable with hands on, in a leadership role or as an advisor, he is a skilled leader who can match operations to strategy, and resolving complex business- and technology-related matters. He specializes in working with senior management and large project teams to map out critical business-improvement technologies and approaches, and to strategize, plan, guide and on occasion help recover complex and important projects. He is a former PwC Partner, and IBM Executive, and has spent over 25 years in the management consulting industry. He has an MBA and holds the CMC designation, which indicates the highest degree of commitment to consulting as a profession. He has taught business courses at the University level, speaks at conferences, and has had many articles published.