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.

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Jonathan Boulanger – Business Development Manager

Jonathan 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.

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Michael Peace – Business Development Manager, External

Michael joins The Forge from the enterprise and innovation team at Communitech, where he managed the growth of the Service Provider Program and worked on Communitech’s corporate innovation pipeline. Prior to that, Michael was General Manager of Grand Erie Business Centre which provides small business consulting and lending services. Michael will be working on a number of corporate partnerships initiatives engaging service partners and as a coach to Forge teams.
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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.

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Patricia Kousoulas – Forge@Mac Program Coordinator

Patricia graduated from McMaster in June 2017.  She is the former Welcome Week Faculty Coordinator, most recent President of the McMaster Science Society (serving for two years) and has worked with McMaster Residence Life in various capacities.  Patricia will be deploying her formidable experience on the Mac campus to help make The Forge@Mac program a smash hit for 2017-2018. On her spare time, she enjoys surrounding herself with people, good music, her dog Cookie and the best kind of food. Her personal favourite is cheesecake!

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