Meet the Team

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Monika Yazdanian – Director, Student & Youth Entrepreneurship

Prior to joining The Forge, Monika was a Program Director for a group of 40+ solar cell researchers in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Toronto, where she raised funds, promoted technology development, managed IP and commercialization strategies, and managed relationships with government, startups, and multi-national companies. Before that, Monika worked at a startup company providing legal and regulatory assistance to companies in the junior mining sector, and taught the occasional physics course at the University of Guelph. She obtained her Ph.D. in Nanoscience from Cornell University, and a Bachelor of Laws from Western University.

Email Monika at monika.yazdanian@theforgehamilton.ca

 

Jonathan Boulanger – Business Development Manager

IMG_3889Jonathan comes to The Forge with the goal of helping great technology and investment meet. He completed a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics at McMaster University in 2013. Work conducted during this period led to the foundation of Nanotec Solar, where he worked as a Senior Research and Development Engineer to bring new silicon-based solar concentrator technology to market.

During this time, Jonathan became increasingly involved and interested in the influences of financial forces on technology, motivating him to write and pass the CFA Level I examination with the ultimate goal of helping bridge the worlds of technology and finance in new and powerful ways. He now works with the McMaster Industry Liaison Office (MILO) and The Forge commercializing the latest technological innovations produced by the McMaster and Hamilton community.

Email Jonathan at boulanjp@mcmaster.ca 

 

Jessica Rudden – Program Coordinator
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Jessica comes to The Forge with a strong background in sales, client relations and event coordination, predominantly within the hospitality and retail industries. She graduated with Honours from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and has worked in both Canada and the United States. With a passion for travel and entertainment, she is always up for an adventure.

Email Jessica at jessica.rudden@theforgehamilton.ca

 

Heather Brunt – Program Coordinator

Heather comes to The Forge with a background in operations and video production in the media industry. She graduated from Ryerson’s Radio and Television Arts program,
and started up her own production company, which she successfully ran for two years. Torstar Media Group Television then asked for her help in starting up ShopTV Canada, an infomercial TV channel, where she eventually became Director of Operations. She’s excited to be part of this innovative team at The Forge where she can put her career skills to good use! Heather loves spending time with her crazy but wonderful family, and is amazed by the things her children teach her, every day. She has recently taken up knitting socks.

Email Heather at brunth@mcmaster.ca

Vanessa Cheng – Communications Coordinator

23555b9Vanessa Cheng comes to The Forge with a background in PR and corporate communications. Previously she was at The Mint Agency in Toronto and Tomorrow’s Company in London, UK working with a variety of lifestyle, entertainment, finance, business, food and beverage, auto, and fashion clients. Born and raised in Toronto, Vanessa has resided in Hong Kong, London and Montreal. Having lived a nomadic lifestyle for many years, she is proud to once again call Canada home. She graduated with her HBA in International Relations and European Studies at the University of Toronto – Trinity College and her MSc in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Email Vanessa at vanessa.cheng@theforgehamilton.ca