Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer
Mike is the head visionary for RBC Ventures. In addition to leading our efforts to move beyond banking, he is part of RBC’s Group Executive, which is responsible for setting RBC’s overall strategic direction. He also oversees RBC Bank US, and chairs RBC’s Innovation Council which oversees investments in strategic partnerships and coordinates RBC’s Innovation Labs. Mike joined RBC in 2010 from Capital One in the US where he served as Executive Vice President in the Consumer Banking Segment. Mike also held executive positions with Charter One Bank and Citibank during his 25-year career. Mike and his family are active supporters and fundraisers for WE and other local charities. Mike also sits on the board of directors for Futurpreneur Canada. Mike, his wife, and their two sons live in Toronto.
Chief Operating Officer
Cheesan has built her career on not losing sight of the forest for the trees. As the Chief Operations Officer at RBC Ventures, Cheesan is focused on making the RBC Ventures vision a reality by articulating and driving our strategic roadmap and enabling the launch and growth of new ventures into market. She drives our culture of innovation and also leads a team of scrappy growth marketers that are driven to build our venture brands from the ground up. Prior to joining RBC, Cheesan co-founded and served as Chief Customer Experience Officer at Idea Couture, building it into a global innovation leader. She is a seasoned business leader and innovator with extensive experience achieving growth through market opportunity, exceptional client experiences and operational efficiency. Cheesan earned an MBA from Western University’s Ivey Business School and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. She lives in Toronto with her family and spends her free time volunteering and traveling.
Head, Business and Health & Wellness ventures
As head of both the Business and Health & Wellness ventures, Alison is required to wear many hats as she leads two diverse but connected teams: one focuses on developing products, solutions and partnerships that create exceptional experiences for business owners and the other develops engaging solutions for consumers and businesses to support their personal and employee wellness. Alison made her mark in RBC as the Managing Director of New Business Initiatives for RBC, where she led the identification, evaluation and early development of non-traditional growth opportunities for RBC including RBC’s healthcare strategy. Prior to joining RBC, Alison was the Vice President of Loyalty and Customer Intelligence at Indigo, and was an Associate Partner at McKinsey and Company. Alison has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto, and her MBA from Harvard Business School. She is also on her 3rd term serving on the board of Camp Oochigeas, a camp for children affected by pediatric cancer. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.
Head, Strategic Design and Customer Experience Strategy
Hector is the ultimate blend of creative thinking and strategic execution. He and his team works closely with our venture founders and partners to help them discover new business opportunities, conduct research to gain insights on the human experience, and design exceptional and innovative products and services. Hector has worked in consulting at advertising and digital agencies where he created and managed creative service and marketing practices. His clients included Fortune 500 companies such as the Cleveland Clinic, Goodyear, Eaton Corporation, and sport franchises such as the Cleveland Indians and Columbus Blue Jackets. He has also led digital and mobile strategy and delivery teams at large financial institutions such as Capital One, Charter One Bank, and Genworth Financial. Hector has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Visual Communication Design from Kent State University. While he grew up and lived throughout the US, he now makes his home in Oakville, Ontario with his wife and two children.
Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Innovation & Digital
As RBC Ventures’ legal expert, Lucille and her group work with our teams to navigate through the important legal and regulatory processes to get new ventures into market. Lucille is a veteran to RBC Law Group having been on the team for over 18 years. The breadth of her legal roles across RBC has provided Lucille with a unique lens into the financial and technology sectors that enables her to efficiently and effectively support the work of RBC Ventures. Lucille earned her LLB from the University of Victoria and she also graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelor of Business Administration. Lucille lives in Oakville with her husband and three sons.
Vice President, Marketing
Throughout his career, Larry has marketed brands through every business phase. In addition to leading marketing for RBC’s Lending and International Banking businesses, he also leads a centre of expertise that supports RBC Ventures with SEO, email marketing, programmatic media buying, social media, and content and media partnerships. For the past 20 years, Larry has worked with a variety of companies from startups and small businesses to large corporations. His career spans both financial services and telecom sectors with Bell Canada and Macquarie Bank being his most recent employers prior to joining RBC in 2011. Larry holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University. He earned his MBA degree at the University of British Columbia and completed his final year in Australia at Melbourne Business School. Over the years, Larry has lived in three countries and four Canadian cities; he now calls Toronto home and currently lives in Aurora with his wife and three kids.
Managing Director, RBC Capital Partners
It’s a bit of a mystery where Barrie finds time to lead venture investments at RBC, serve on the Board of Governors for Havergal College among other boards, and be a husband and father of three wonderful children. What’s never in question is Barrie’s history of success in the venture space. He has served as CEO for numerous companies in the technology, hospitality and manufacturing sectors, as well as founding an independent venture fund that focused on early stage technology investments. At RBC, he oversees our strategic investments and fund investments. Barrie earned his ICD.D from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and holds the CPA and CA designations.
Jenn loves to write, write, write, and as the communications lead, she spends her time sharing our venture stories both inside and outside RBC. Prior to joining RBC Ventures, Jenn has held various roles across RBC leading the communications of large changes. She’s also held communications roles in telecom, government and lobbying organizations. Jenn is highly addicted to podcasts and is a voracious reader of true crime. She also prides herself on being able to complete the NYT crossword in pen…except on Saturdays. Jenn holds a Linguistics degree from Dalhousie University and an advanced diploma in Public Relations. She lives in Toronto with her partner and their two active little boys.
Head, Home Ventures
Simon leads our Imagineers in orchestrating cool experiences and solving real challenges to all things home-related. Simon empowers our diverse group of talent and provides the guidance and resources necessary for them to succeed. Previously, Simon was Vice President of Payments and Lending at Tangerine. He also draws on many years of experience from his time at Capital One in Canada and the UK. Simon completed the General Management Program for Executives at Harvard Business School and earned a M.Sc. in Physics from Imperial College of London. He spends his off-hours cycling and coaching his three boys in sports and outdoor living.
Head, Mobility Ventures
How can we improve the experience of getting from Point A to Point B? As the head of our Mobility Ventures, Steph leads a team focused on re-thinking the ways we get around and developing solutions that solve common pain points associated with transportation. Before joining RBC, Steph was the Chief Revenue Officer at HigherMe, a startup focused on helping companies optimize their recruitment. Steph was also the co-founder of TalentEgg, a startup focused on connecting Canadian employers with top millennial talent. Prior to TalentEgg, Steph spent six years in the automotive industry where she held roles in sales, dealer financing, portfolio management and risk. Outside the office, Steph serves on the Advisory Board of Our Children's Medicine, a social enterprise that connects Indigenous and underserved jobseekers achieve sustainable employment. Steph lives in Toronto with her family and on the weekends you can find her spending time with her toddler.
Head, Human Resources
Erin has dedicated her career to finding and unleashing the best digital, analytical and product talent. She leads the Human Resources team at RBC Ventures where she obsesses about building and motivating a high performing team. Before joining RBC Ventures, Erin was the Head of HR for Branded Cards at Capital One in Toronto. In this role, she played pivotal leadership roles in the “software studio” build and in Capital One Canada’s agile transformation. Erin completed her undergrad in Political Studies at Queen’s and her Masters of Human Resources at York. She spends her off-hours entertaining friends, running and playing soccer. Erin lives in Toronto’s Danforth area with her husband and two young kids.
Head, Fintech Corporate Development
Say hello to Jonathan, our Head of Fintech Corporate Development. In addition to identifying partnerships to help accelerate our innovation strategies, Jonathan is constantly on the hunt for potential investments and acquisition opportunities that align with RBC Ventures’ areas of focus. Jonathan joined RBC Ventures from RBC Corporate Development where he was responsible for sourcing, evaluating and negotiating corporate merger and acquisition activities and strategic alliances for RBC’s domestic and international business platforms. Jonathan also has extensive consulting experience. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo with CPA, CA, and CBV designations.
Vice President, Ventures Technology
Despite being the head of Technology at RBC Ventures, Dave is first and foremost a people person. In his role, he oversees the team of high-performing tech leads and engineers to build our Venture Founders’ vision using the latest tech stack. Dave has been managing software teams and delivering innovative infrastructures, consumer-facing services and licensed software for over 25 years in large corporations, small to midsized private companies, midsized public companies and venture backed start-ups in Silicon Valley, Toronto, New York, Tel Aviv and Waterloo. Most recently, Dave was the Senior Vice President of Engineering at Kik. Prior to Kik, he was the Chief Technology Officer at Points, delivering loyalty commerce SaaS solutions and a self-service platform that enabled crowdsourcing of innovation for the loyalty industry. Dave lives in Toronto with his wife and their three sons. When not working, he loves to fish and spend time at the family cottage. He is a graduate of the University of Waterloo in Math and Computer Science.
Head, Consumer Ventures
Every team needs a visionary, and Gabriel Woo is that person for RBC Ventures in the consumer space. As head of the Consumer Ventures group, he is focused on connecting businesses to tens of millions of consumers and building platforms and services beyond banking to help people save time, save money, and simplify their daily lives. Before joining RBC Ventures, Gabriel led innovation at RBC. He also co-founded and continues to oversee Borealis AI, an RBC Institute for Research dedicated to fundamental and applied research in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Gabriel holds a M.Sc. in Engineering from Stanford University, and a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science from University of Toronto. Having spent a number of years living and working across Canada, US, and Asia, Gabriel now lives in Toronto with his wife and their three young children.