Meet the Velocity Team
Director of Velocity
As the Director of Velocity, Jay advocates for entrepreneurship and provides guidance to startups to help them build successful businesses. Jay is passionate about enabling all contributors of the Kitchener-Waterloo startup ecosystem to punch above the region’s collective weight.
Jay began his entrepreneurship journey twelve years ago at the University of Waterloo while pursuing a degree in Mechatronics Engineering. During his studies, he co-founded BufferBox, which was ultimately acquired by Google, where Jay worked for 3.5 years before joining Velocity.
What Jay finds most interesting about working in the startup world is the lack of a rule book and the fact that early stage companies can do things in a way that larger companies can’t. When he is not mentoring companies, you can find Jay tinkering with hardware, playing squash, or teaching his parrot new tricks.
As Associate Director, Camelia helps oversee Velocity programs and is committed to strengthening the impact of the Waterloo startup ecosystem. Camelia has been part of the University of Waterloo community for over a decade, working as both a professor, teaching language and entrepreneurship courses, and in the Office of Research as Corporate Research Partnerships Manager.
Camelia previously founded an EdTech startup, Milao Language, and knows first-hand the challenges of launching and leading a venture. Her goal is to ensure students across disciplines and all levels of study are exposed to entrepreneurship and embrace an entrepreneurial mindset in whatever it is they decide to do. She completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (MBET) at the University of Waterloo, and is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics at Western University. When she is not challenging students to think outside the box, you’ll likely find her doing something fun with her family or you might not find her at all, as she is off discovering another part of the world.
Bradley is a business mentor and advisor to early stage startups at Velocity. These companies come to Velocity with an idea, or product prototype and spend several months focused on validating the market for their idea.
Bradley is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and was a former Federation of Students (Feds) President. He has worked at a number of technology companies at various stages of growth and was the first hire at BufferBox, a startup ultimately acquired by Google. Bradley has worked at Google on an emerging logistics platform and most recently worked at Clearpath Robotics, a growth stage hardware company. He is particularly skilled at go-to-market strategy, product enabling partnerships, sales, and early stage business development. Bradley also owns and operates a 160-acre farm in his spare time.
Scott is a hardware mentor and advisor to startups at Velocity who have a hardware element to their product.
Scott has a degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo and has spent the majority of his career in the Waterloo area. He worked at Blackberry for twelve years in Hardware Engineering as the Manager of Conceptual Prototype Development, as well as the Manager of MEMS Motion sensors. Prior to Blackberry, Scott spent ten years developing machine vision cameras and systems at Dalsa, and at the same time ran his own engineering services company. In his free time, Scott is very active in Scouting.
Adrien is the Business Advisor for science-based startups at Velocity and is passionate about moving technology from the lab towards commercial success. He is able to support teams with his skills in product development and market fit, strategic planning and alliances, and IP.
For 10 years, Adrien was a technology portfolio manager at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada, where he managed a number of R&D partnerships and oversaw technology creation, development, and commercialization projects. Prior to Xerox, he was a principal investigator at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. He began his academic career at the University of Waterloo, receiving a B.Sc. in Applied Chemistry, and went on to complete a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Calgary, and a Postdoc at the University of Michigan. Adrien has 25 research publications, holds 46 patents, and recently completed the Executive Masters in Technology Management program at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics. When he has free time, he fills it with paddling trips, playing ultimate, and cycling.
Emily is the Business Advisor to early stage startups at Velocity, specializing in customer discovery and validation, business model development, and go-to-market strategy. A graduate of Queen’s School of Business, Emily’s track record of successfully launched ventures includes a mobile app, a green television show, and a sustainability consulting firm. She has complemented these entrepreneurial endeavours with 5 years’ experience at North America’s largest contract manufacturer of household and personal care products, where she managed development of the company’s first hardware product, led the 5-year strategic planning initiative, supported financing activities, and coordinated multi-million dollar buy-side and sale-side transactions.
Emily is continuously experimenting with new business ideas, and enjoys bagpiping, snowboarding, and slalom water skiing.
Campus Lead Mentor
Pat is the lead point of contact for all University of Waterloo students who have questions about entrepreneurship, whether they are starting their own companies or are simply curious about the startup world. He has almost a decade of experience in the KW ecosystem and believes that anyone can contribute to growing this amazing community.
Pat is an early grad of UWaterloo’s Mechatronics Engineering program. He went on to co-found Clearpath Robotics and helped grow the organization to 30+ employees. He then shifted his attention to growing the KW startup community at large and has been an early employee at 3 other hardware startups and an informal advisor to many more. When not at work, Pat is a four-seasons cyclist, an aspiring rock climber & Dungeon Master, and a frequent volunteer at FIRST robotics competitions.
Campus Relations & Outreach Manager
As Campus Relations & Outreach Manager, Sarah develops and maintains relationships with campus partners and focusses on recruiting the best startups to Velocity. Sarah has been with the University of Waterloo and its programs for the past 15 years and embraces the enthusiasm and passion that the companies and students embody. She is thrilled to work with the companies and be part of the excitement that these entrepreneurs bring to their startups.
One of her favourite ways to spend her off time is helping family and friends plan events, from birthdays to special events to weddings.
Campus Marketing Lead
Alyana is interested in all things creative and enjoys seeing a project from start to finish. She leads communication initiatives on campus through email, content marketing, and social media channels. Alyana enjoys sharing the success of Velocity companies with the greater community, recruiting University of Waterloo students to Velocity Start, and strengthening the Velocity brand.
Alyana completed her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Waterloo in Arts & Business, with a major in Fine Arts, and a specialization in Digital Arts Communication. She is currently working towards a Graduate Diploma (GDip) in Business and Entrepreneurship. She has a passion for cooking, documentaries and farmers’ markets.
Campus Programs Lead
Carly found her passion for event planning while pursuing her degree in Recreation and Business at the University of Waterloo. From working as the Student Promotions Coordinator at the Waterloo Warrior game days to supporting events at the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus she brings invaluable experience and energy to Velocity. Carly’s primary goal as the Campus Programs Lead is to get students engaged and excited about their proximity to the most productive startup incubator in Canada!
In her spare time, you can find Carly biking nearby trails or attending a local sporting event. One of her favourite memories was WWOOFING in New Zealand.
Velocity Science Coordinator
As the Velocity Science Coordinator, Jessica oversees the day to day operations of the Velocity Science lab including ordering materials and equipment, safety compliance and supporting teams in their research and development. She is a graduate of the University of Waterloo’s Molecular Biology and Biotechnology program and holds a Master’s degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Western Ontario. As a former researcher and a lifetime lover of science, Jessica enjoys the opportunity to support students who are using science to solve a wide range of problems, paving the way for next-generation technologies. When not geeking out over the types of pipettes in the lab, you can find her cuddled up with her two cats and a cup of tea either reading, knitting or watching Netflix.
Velocity Lab Manager
Katie brings her love of science and systems to her management of the Velocity Garage lab. She supports Velocity’s science teams via operational oversight, instrumentation training and management, and ensuring safety compliance in the space. She is a double graduate of the University of Waterloo, holding both a BSc and MSc in Biology, with a focus on environmental toxicology and water resources management.
A Velocity alumna with a background in research, Katie is passionate about supporting students using science to solve problems. When not in the lab, Katie can be found brewing small batches of questionable beer, gardening, or playing D&D.
Nick Di Benedetto
Marketing and Programs Coordinator
Nick is a creative soul who loves to look at things in new and unique ways. He helps to plan and execute the events and marketing efforts of Velocity on campus. Before Velocity, Nick worked at an insurance brokerage for 5 years where he cut his teeth in the marketing field.
Nick is a busy, whirlwind of a person who is always on the go and involved in many different sports teams. He is also involved in highly competitive fantasy hockey and football where he crushes his opponents (sometimes). When not involved in sports, Nick can be found experimenting in the kitchen.
As the Executive Assistant , Hillary provides administrative support to the Velocity team. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Waterloo in Arts and Business, with a major in Political Science and a minor in Women’s Studies. Hillary’s favourite part about working at Velocity is contributing to and supporting a passionate community while having the opportunity to meet new people. In her spare time, Hillary enjoys cooking, the occasional yoga class, and exploring the outdoors.
As the Administrative Assistant, Tanis welcomes all of the visitors to the Velocity Garage and provides administrative support to the Velocity team. Her favourite part about working at Velocity is being part of an inspiring community of thinkers and creators. Tanis completed an Honours Rhetoric and Professional Writing degree at the University of Waterloo. When she’s not at the Garage, you can find Tanis playing with her dog, Luna, or attempting to grow her garden.
As Financial Officer, Yolanda provides financial support to all aspects of Velocity activities. She is an experienced accountant with a CPA, CMA designation. Yolanda was an accounting manager at Linamar for 12 years, including overseeing the financial activities of Linamar’s biggest plant in Canada and working with local management to start up its first plant in China. Prior to Linamar, she worked at Kodak and Bosch-Siemens. In her free time, Yolanda practices traditional Chinese Calligraphy.
As Community Manager, Briton works to develop and execute a cohesive strategy for Velocity. She oversees existing programming for our founders and companies, while also working to create and implement new programs towards building a strong sense of community among founders at the Garage. Briton brings over 12 years of events experience having worked at Communitech, Manulife and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).
Briton loves a great cup of coffee, spending time with her family and friends and enjoying all of the great things Waterloo Region has to offer.
Marketing & Programs Assistant
Rachel is the Marketing & Programs Assistant Co-op for Velocity. She is in her 3B term of Honours Arts, majoring in Psychology, and minoring in English and Human Resource Management. This term, she will work to support the Velocity brand through digital and traditional communication channels, as well as assist in the coordination and execution of Velocity programs that encourage, develop, and promote the entrepreneurial and innovative talents and ambitions of students and alumni at UWaterloo.
When she’s not in the Garage writing blogs, managing social media, and running events, you will find her singing with her a cappella group around campus, or jamming with her band!