Advisory Board

Anna Redden, Ph.D

Dean, Research & Graduate Studies, Acadia University

Dr. Anna Redden has been appointed Dean of Research and Graduate Studies effective September 1. Redden is a two-time Acadia graduate (BScH and MSc) who returned to campus in 2005 from an academic appointment in Australia to assume a full-time faculty position in the Biology Department. She is recognized internationally and nationally for her research in the ecology of coastal/estuarine systems and marine environments and was the Director of the Acadia Centre for Estuarine Research (ACER) as well as Director of the Acadia Tidal Energy Institute and Executive Chair of the Fundy Energy Research Network. Redden earned her Ph.D. from Memorial University and has over 30 years of research experience with students and collaborators within and outside Acadia. She has supervised 35 research students at the Ph.D., Masters, and Honours levels, as well as numerous technical and administrative staff, research assistants and coop interns.

Darcy Benoit, Ph.D

Director, Jodrey School of Computer Science, Acadia University

Dr. Darcy Benoit is an Associate Professor in and Acting Director of Acadia’s Jodrey School of Computer Science. He earned a BSc in Computer Science from St. Francis Xavier University and his Ph.D. in Computing from Queen’s University. Dr. Benoit joined Acadia University in 2002. Since then, he has received several research grants from groups such as NSERC, inNovaCorp, a Nova Scotia Productivity and Innovation Voucher. He is the author or co-author of over 30 publications. Dr. Benoit’s research areas include large-scale data collection, database management systems, and mobile computing.

Jeff Hooper, Ph.D

Department Head,  Mathematics & Statistics, Acadia University

Dr. Jeff Hoper joined Acadia in 2001 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and since 2009 has served several terms as Head of the Department. He has a BSc and MSc from the University of Windsor and earned his Ph.D. from McMaster University. In 2007, he was awarded the Community Leadership in Teaching Award by the Acadia Students’ Union. Dr. Hooper is currently the Head of the Acadia Math and Statistics Department.

Leanne Strathdee-Dowling

Manager, Rural Innovation Centre,  Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre

Leanne Strathdee is the Manager of Innovation and Incubation for Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre. In this role, she manages the Rural Innovation Centre – an incubator for start-up companies at Acadia University, that are connected to the services and amenities that Acadia offers in research, data analytics, tidal energy or business - skills development. Additionally, she manages all the student entrepreneurship programming through the provincial sandbox, Launchbox.

Leigh Huestis

Director, Office of Industry and Community Engagement, Acadia University

As Director of Acadia’s Office of Industry and Community Engagement (formerly the Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation), Leigh is responsible for commercialization and industry liaison activities, intellectual property management and preparation and negotiation of a wide variety of research and commercialization agreements. Leigh has been a recipient of the Acadia President’s Award for Innovation and a team finalist for a Nova Scotia Discovery Award. She also sits as an Advisory Member on several Boards, including the Acadia Center for Social and Business Entrepreneurship (ACSBE) and the Jodrey School of Computer Science, and is actively involved in coordinating activities of the Springboard Network as a member of the Network Coordination Committee and the Technology Assessment Committee.

Martha Casey

Vice-President, Operations and Business Transformation, International Institute for Sustainable Development

Martha is the International Institute for Sustainable Development's (IISD) Vice President of Operations and Business Transformation where she oversees the Institute's global administration. Martha joined IISD from Volta, one of Canada's largest innovation hubs, where she served as its Chief Executive Officer. At Volta, she undertook and executed a new strategic plan to ensure the organization's success through the COVID-19 pandemic, managed multi-million-dollar budgets, and advanced initiatives on diversity, equity, and inclusion, among other responsibilities and achievements. She was previously Volta's Chief Operating Officer.

Paul Richards

Regional Manager, Innovacorp

Paul Richards is an accomplished economic development professional with a proven track record of accelerating business growth. As Regional Manager for Innovacorp, Nova Scotia’s early-stage venture capital organization, Paul focused on enabling knowledge-based companies to accelerate the commercialization of their technologies and to create a dynamic high-growth entrepreneur culture in Nova Scotia.

Suzie Currie, Ph.D

Dean, Pure and Applied Science, Acadia University

Dr. Currie is currently a full professor and Head of the Department of Biology at Mount Allison University. She describes herself as “a proud Acadia alumna who was inspired by many Acadia faculty and staff.” She holds a BSc (Honours) from Acadia and an MSc, as well as a Ph.D. from Queen’s University, supervised by Acadia alumnus, Dr. Bruce Tufts (’82). Shortly after completing her Ph.D., she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cambridge, UK, working with Dr. Robert Boutilier (’76, DSC ’96). Dr. Currie has been awarded over $1.5 million from NSERC, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, and the NB Environmental Trust Fund. She worked collaboratively with Advancement at MTA to use some of these funds to leverage a generous private donation from the Harold Crabtree Foundation to design and build the University’s Crabtree Aqualab Centre for Aquatic Sciences.

Matthew Martel

Chief Operating Officer, Black Business Initiative

Mr. Martel is Chief Operating Officer at Black Business Initiative. Mr. Martel obtained a Bachelor's degree in Management from Dalhousie University, followed by a Master's degree in Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation from Saint Mary's University Sobey School of Business, and is a Certified Project Management Professional. With an aptitude for strategic thinking and solving complex problems, Matthew enjoys working with groups to troubleshoot challenging issues; he leverages these skills to support his team and organization. Matthew is passionate about Canadian entrepreneurship, especially in working to foster and grow minority-led enterprises.