CCSBE Board Members

Meet the volunteers in charge of moving our dynamic organization forward

Mike Henry, President

Dr. Henry is the Dean of the School of Business and Economics at Thompson Rivers University. Prior to joining TRU he was the Associate Dean of the School of Business at MacEwan University where he developed the school’s Bachelor of Commerce degree, including initiating an outcomes-based Assurance of Learning research project. He has a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in human resources management from the University of Southern Queensland, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Alberta.

Mike Malazdrewicz, President Elect    

Michael Malazdrewicz is an Associate Professor in the Business Administration department at Brandon University. He holds the Endowed Chair in Small Business and Entrepreneurship and teaches courses in information technology, information management, systems analysis, operations management, small business management and strategic management. Mike also has extensive experience in the private sector.  Prior to his position at Brandon University, Mike was a partner and part of the over all management team at two accounting firms where he managed a large client base of small businesses and led the development of Information Technology services. He has also completed tax training from the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants as well as the examinations of the Canadian Insolvency Association and has served as a Licensed Trustee in Bankruptcy. Mike has also chaired and presented repeatedly at the national CICA IT Conference and the CICA Small Business Practice Conference.

Mary Kilfoil, Executive Director

Mary Kilfoil, Founder and CEO of Innovate Atlantic Inc. has over 80 major research reports and publications related to innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development to her credit. Her passion for entrepreneurship continued after joining Dalhousie University. Over the past six years, Dr. Kilfoil reshaped entrepreneurship teaching and programming at Dalhousie University where she designed and launched a campus-wide, award-winning Launch Dal program based on lean entrepreneurship methodologies. Mary led the team that brought the Starting Lean Course to Dalhousie University in the Fall of 2012 providing an experiential approach and accomplished mentors – listed in Academia’s Top 10 courses in Canada 2013. She has received numerous teaching awards and in 2014, Mary received the national Entrepreneurship Educator award from Startup Canada. Mary’s non-profit Innovate Atlantic Inc. focusses on assisting companies scale.

Rafik Kurji, Treasurer 

Rafik began teaching at Mount Royal in the Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension. He began teaching for Bissett School of Business as a part-time instructor in 1996, and joined the Faculty as a full-time tenure-track instructor In September 2001.  Rafik has also taught computer accounting and other software courses for the Faculty of Continuing Education at the University of Calgary. In 1993 and 1994, he marked exams for three courses for the Society of Management Accountants. Rafik has been nominated for the Mount Royal Teaching Excellence Award on two occasions. In 2002, he received the E- Award for Teaching Excellence presented by the Students’ Association of Mount Royal. He also teaches jointly with another instructor, an entrance exam preparation course leading to the CMA designation.

Mai Thai, Editor-in-Chief- Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship

Mai Thai is Associate Professor at the International Business Department, HEC Montreal. Her expertise is in entrepreneurship, qualitative methods and emerging economies. Thai joined HEC Montreal in 2009, after working as an assistant professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and a lecturer in several higher education institutions in Switzerland and Vietnam. Prior to her academic career, she was an entrepreneur and journalist in Vietnam until 2001. Thai has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Business Venturing, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Journal of Enterprising Communities, Journal of International Entrepreneurship, contributed several book chapters, and presented at numerous academic conferences.

Howard (Xiaohua) Lin, Vice- President – Research

Lin is Professor of International Business & Entrepreneurship at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University. He currently serves as Vice President (research) of the Canadian Council for Small Business & Entrepreneurship is the former Chair of the Academy of International Business’ Canada Chapter. His publications have appeared in journals such as Strategic Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, Management International Review, Journal of World Business, and Journal of Business Ethics. He is the founder of the Canadian Entrepreneurship & Innovation Platform, a non-for-profit organization whose objects are to promote the development of entrepreneurship for the purpose of enhancing Canada’s innovation and economic performance.

John MacRitchie, CCSBE Board Director at Large

John MacRitchie is the Senior Director, Business Development & Strategic Planning at Ryerson University. Reporting to the Vice-President of Research and Innovation, leading research strategies development to support new partnerships and market opportunities to transfer knowledge and apply research findings quickly and effectively to provide clear economic benefit. Managing development of I-INC, a national network of university-linked incubators and innovation hubs in Canada supporting start-ups, scaling of ventures and access to talent and research. connections with funders. John is very well connected with government, government policy on innovation at the Federal level in Canada; His expertise in innovation research funding, tri-council funding and public research funding policy and brings tremendous value to the Board. in terms of policy directions and sponsorship. opportunities. 

Megann Willson, Vice-President – Communications

Megann Willson, Co-founder of Panoptika, brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in communication and marketing. She will add tremendous bench strength to the board in helping us connect with our membership, developing communication and marketing strategies – and to a larger extent – identifying opportunities to increase our profile and add value to our membership For Megann, understanding customers and stakeholders, and what they need, begins with one question: What will you do when you find out? A skilled strategist and facilitator with a penchant for Product Management, Megann has honed her skills in Business-to-Business, Technology, and Pharmaceuticals. Megann is a long-time Innovation Games® facilitator, who encourages product managers and start-ups to look beyond the survey and work from the customer, user, or stakeholder’s viewpoint. Her decades of experience include depth-interviewing, focus group moderation, online moderation, community management, design sprints and in-person and online collaboration sessions.

Joelle Foster, CCSBE Board Director at Large

Joelle Foster, Executive Director of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking, University of Calgary, brings a great deal of experience to the CCSBE Board. In her role as Executive Director of the Hunter Centre, Joelle steers the development and execution of entrepreneurial thinking initiatives at the University of Calgary. Joelle is a recognized leader in business counselling and entrepreneurship. Prior to this position, Joelle was overseeing Futurpreneur Canada’s offices in Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, leveraging more than $36 million in business financing. Joelle has established more than 50 strong community partnerships in the Prairies and the North, resulting in a culture of reciprocal relationships built on a network of champions. The Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking was established in 2017 thanks to a $40-million gift from the Hunter Family Foundation, helping spark transformational change, enriching the student experience and empowering entrepreneurial thinking across the institution. 

Jay Krysler, CCSBE Board Director at Large

Jay holds a Masters in Public Administration (MPA), BA in Economics, secondary teaching certificates in Ontario and B.C., and certification in both the U.S. and Canada in entrepreneurship education instruction.  Currently and for the last 5 years Jay is a full-time faculty member at the JR Shaw School of Business at NAIT in Edmonton, Alberta, instructing and creating courses in new venture creation, entrepreneurial studies, and small business management in support of NAIT’s 4 year business degree program. He is past president and a current director of the Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (CCSBE) and a current Director-at-Large of the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Chris Holt, CCSBE Board Director at Large

Christopher Holt, Lecturer & Associate Director, Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) Program at the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business, University of Waterloo brings a wealth of experience to the CCSBE Board. In addition to Chris’ current academic role, he is a former consultant and entrepreneur with experience in the technology, media and finance industries.  Chris oversees the University of Waterloo’s graduate business degree in entrepreneurship and serves as a senior advisor to the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association, a non-profit global educational body co-founded by a University of Massachusetts research center.  Prior to entering academia, Chris was the managing director of the Global Absolute Return Congress, a series of conferences that brings together institutional investors, academics and public figures to discuss the intersection of economics, capital markets and geopolitics. During his career in industry, he was a founder or manager at several new ventures including one of the world’s leading institutional investment blogs, an investment trade magazine, a web development firm, an e-business research firm and an angel-backed fintech start-up. Chris has been a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Alternative Investments and a consultant at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the World Bank and a UN-affiliated NGO based in Costa Rica. In 2005, he was one of eight recipients globally of Duke University’s highest award for alumni service.