Meet the Board

Learn about our Board Members.

Cheryll Watson


Cheryll is an internationally experienced business executive. She is a former Edmonton Mayoral candidate and founded Innovate Edmonton (now Edmonton Unlimited), Edmonton’s economic development agency focused on fostering Alberta’s prosperity in technology and innovation. Prior to her work in the public sector, Cheryll spent fifteen years working globally with Silicon Valley-headquartered, Intuit, playing a major role in Intuit’s international business expansion setting up new offices and leading teams in six countries. 

She is an active and engaged community leader committed to serving her city. Most recently she was named the Chair of the Building Stronger Futures Capital Campaign for the Terra Centre for Teen Parents and is a founding member of the Downtown Recovery Coalition. Throughout her career, Cheryll has served on a variety of boards, including Co-Chairing the Startup Genome Global Senior Advisory Policy Forum and as a mentor in the University of Alberta Venture Mentoring Service.

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Dean Linquist


Dean brings extensive leadership and teaching experience in public, separate and charter schools. In addition to his current position as Superintendent for Thrive Elementary Charter School, he served in Superintendent roles for New Horizons Charter School, SD 71 (Comox Valley) and Grande Yellowhead Public Schools, as well as Associate/Deputy Superintendent for the Aspen View Regional School Division. Earlier in his career, Dean also held positions as a Principal and as a classroom teacher in schools across central Alberta. Rounding out his experience, Dean has taught graduate-level courses at the University of Calgary and served as Assistant Deputy Minister (Program and System Support) for Alberta Education.


Dean is an avid sports fan and spends time cheering on his favourite teams. He also enjoys immersing himself in professional and academic literature to stay up to date on the latest developments in education and related areas.

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Randy Heaps


Born and raised in Edmonton, Randy’s 25+ year career in this City has evolved from landscape architectural project and client management, to business and people management, to corporate operations and governance. Randy is currently Director and Chief Operating Officer for ISL Engineering and Land Services (ISL), an Edmonton based multidisciplinary consulting firm specializing in the design of civil infrastructure for public and private sector clients across western Canada.  In his role as COO, Randy is responsible for the management and operations of ISL’s 14 offices, with leadership support for ISL’s 30 business units and 475 staff. As a Director, Randy is responsible for leading or supporting strategic planning and implementation, company and business unit performance, corporate policy development, human resources, safety, IT and innovation. Randy also provides leadership support for ISL Adapt, a subsidiary company partnering with the University of Alberta, Alberta Innovates and Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), on a research pilot project focused on optimizing water treatment through artificial intelligence and machine learning.

During his career, Randy has been proud Rotarian, including serving as the President of the Rotary Club of Edmonton for its 100th anniversary. Randy also has served as President of the Alberta Association of Landscape Architects. As an experienced Director, Randy brings to the Board table an exceptional range of strategic and tactical skills, leadership and governance expertise, community engagement and networking, passion and common sense.

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Lara McClelland


Lara is passionate about learning and the role of pathways into post-secondary institutions. She believes the greater Edmonton area has a rich and well-esteemed landscape of post-secondary institutions that each transform lives and strengthen the fabric of the community and success of the economy. 

She brings a depth of leadership experience and knowledge as a leader in the post-secondary education and public sectors.  With over 25 years of progressive leadership experience, she has held executive positions with NAIT, the University of Alberta and is currently the vice-president of University Relations with MacEwan University.

Born in Edmonton, McClelland grew up in Medicine Hat, Alberta and returned to Edmonton in 1999. She holds an MSc (Sports Medicine) from the U of C, an executive MBA from Athabasca University, a fellowship in health system improvement from the U of A and is a certified mediator.

Lara is a full-time single mother of two teenage daughters, one enrolled at MacEwan and the other at the UofA. She loves being with family, travelling adventures, hiking and almost all outdoor activities.

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Aaron Thiem


Aaron is an accomplished strategy professional with extensive experience working with Executive Teams and Boards to facilitate strategy sessions and interactive workshops that develop their long- and short-term strategic direction and solve strategic issues.

Aaron has worked in both the public and private sectors. When working for Alberta’s Ministry of Health he developed the strategic planning framework for the Ministry and served on the Health System Governance Review Task Force appointed by the Minister of Health. When working for Servus Credit Union as the Director of Strategy, Aaron led the Strategy Management Office which included overseeing strategy development and the project management office. While at Servus, Aaron worked with a new CEO and Executive Team to transform the company’s strategic aspirations, designing a new organizational purpose, values, and 10-year strategic outcomes. Currently, Aaron works with the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) as as their Director of Corporate Planning.

In addition to his professional experience, Aaron holds an MBA with a specialization in strategic planning, giving him a comprehensive understanding of business strategy and operations. Aaron also has a corporate governance designation (GPC.D) from the Governance Professionals of Canada.

In his personal life Aaron enjoys staying active by exercising, jogging, playing basketball, and hiking in the mountains with his family. Aaron has been a volunteer coach with the Confederation Hockey Club since 2012 and serves as a leader and mentor for a youth activity group.

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Board Meeting Minutes

Annual General Meeting and Special General Meeting


Board Policies