The Pond-Deshpande Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship welcomed its new Executive Director, Karina LeBlanc who took over on February 27th. The Pond-Deshpande Center, supported by prominent University of New Brunswick alumni Desh Deshpande and Gerry Pond, will act as a catalyst to advance innovation and entrepreneurship in the province of New Brunswick. LeBlanc brings over 15 years of experience in bringing new products to market at both Fortune 500 and startup companies to her role at the center.
“Taking a solution from idea to implementation, whether in response to a social challenge or a market opportunity, requires the same determination, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. We expect the center to help support and grow this next generation of entrepreneurs in the province”, said LeBlanc. “I am really excited to be able to work with these young startups and to share my experience with them”.
Prior to joining UNB, she was Vice President at Virtual Experts Clinics where she managed overall operations, raised over $4 million from a variety of sources and helped manage its eventual acquisition by market leader Trumpet Behavioral Health. She had previously led product management and strategy at startup Mathis Instruments, an innovative online monitoring technology company. She was the past president of the Board of Directors of the YMCA Fredericton and was a campaign co-chair helping raise $13 million in funding and government support to launch the construction of a new YMCA.
“We were really glad to have Karina on board,” remarked Desh Deshpande, founder of the Deshpande Foundation and supporter of the Pond-Deshpande Center. “She brings a great combination of market driven energy and knowledge combined with practical understanding of the social impact sector that will complement the center’s objective of serving all types of entrepreneurs.”
LeBlanc has an MBA from York University’s Schulich School of Business, and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Western Ontario.