Meet our new Operations Manager

Jennifer MacLean is the newest addition to the SOSCIP team, taking on the challenging but rewarding role of Operations Manager. She brings with her a wealth of experience in strategic partnerships and research innovation. Want to know more? Here’s your chance. Check out our Q&A with Jennifer.

Welcome to the SOSCIP team, Jennifer! We’re thrilled to have you on board. But first, what drew you to SOSCIP?

Thanks – I’m excited to join the team! I’ve been following the activities and successes of SOSCIP for some time now and have been intrigued by the partnership possibilities that SOSCIP brings to Ontario. In a previous role, I had the opportunity to work with the SOSCIP group to build a partnership between SOSCIP and Mitacs and I was struck by the collaborative, can-do nature of the team. When this opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance to come aboard!

Can you provide a brief description of your background?

I was raised on a farm in rural Saskatchewan, so I am no stranger to hard work. I moved to London, Ontario for post-secondary and completed a BSc in Genetics and PhD in Medical Biophysics, both from Western. Following my PhD, I joined the Business Development team at Mitacs and happily discovered that I had a knack for partnership building. I worked closely with the research office at Western and brought Western to the #1 university in Canada for Mitacs Accelerate funding in 2013. Following the first BD position, I moved into a number of different roles at Mitacs, including Strategic Account Manager where I built the partnership between Mitacs and SOSCIP, and most recently as the Director for the Converge pilot program. It was as the Converge Director that I honed my operational skills, and I’m looking forward to using those, and my love of partnership building, to support the growth of SOSCIP.

What do you find most rewarding about supporting industry-academic partnerships?

I really enjoy finding and fitting the right pieces together to foster a sustainable, mutually beneficial partnership. As a BD, I enjoyed asking questions to uncover and articulate industrial challenges, and then directly matching the company with an academic partner to tackle the challenge. However, I recognized that even the best matched partners will be hampered if the right technology or funding program support is not available. In building the Converge program, I strove to build a program structure that allowed partnerships between large multinationals, Canadian SMEs and Canadian academics to thrive. I plan to bring that same mindset to my new role at SOSCIP.

What unique skills do you bring to the role of Operations Manager for SOSCIP?

Having worked in direct partnership building, and in funding program operations, I’ve developed a keen sense for what ‘works’ in building sustainable industrial-academic partnerships. I’m a problem-solver by nature, and am always looking forward to tackling the next challenge.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I love to travel, most recently to NYC in June, and to Italy in spring 2015. I enjoy spending time outside, either heading out for a run, gardening or camping with my family.

List three things you think we should know about you.

  1. I love new experiences and I will try any food, at least once.
  2. I once spent a summer driving an elevator at the CN Tower, and somehow didn’t develop a fear of getting stuck in elevators
  3. I love meeting new people, so give me a ring and I promise to share more!

You can contact Jennifer by email at jenn.maclean@soscip.org.