Jan. 27, 2020

Keri Damen appointed executive director, Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking

A message from President Ed McCauley
Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking
Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking

I am so pleased to announce the appointment of Keri Damen as the executive director of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking, effective March 1, 2020.

In this key role, at this critical and exciting time in the history of this university, and this city, Damen will steer the development and execution of entrepreneurial thinking initiatives at UCalgary and, in turn, within the community. 

“We have made tremendous advances in establishing our innovation ecosystem on campus,” says André Buret, interim vice-president (research). “The Hunter Hub plays a critical role in fostering the entrepreneurial spirit at UCalgary, and Keri’s leadership will be instrumental as we encourage our students and faculty to engage with the ecosystem.”

A nationally and globally respected leader of entrepreneurial thinking, Damen joins UCalgary from her role as the inaugural managing director of University of Toronto Entrepreneurship where she shone in her exceptional ability to drive, connect and amplify an entrepreneurship network.

Keri Damen

Keri Damen, executive director of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking.

"I’m thrilled by the University of Calgary’s vision to be ‘the most entrepreneurial university in Canada,’ and am inspired and prepared to help strengthen and advance a rich, collaborative entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem from the ground up,” says Damen. “I’ve long found excitement and success in both an entrepreneurial start-up environment and in advancing dynamic, interdisciplinary entrepreneurship networks across educational programs. I see the University of Calgary as a nerve centre for local and national economic diversification, backed by a unique community of supporters, dynamic resources and expertise. Calgary is more than ready for this, and I’m delighted to be involved.”      

“Research universities are always at the heart of effective innovation ecosystems. The University of Calgary plays a critical role in enabling our community to thrive in a rapidly changing world,” says Derrick Hunter, Hunter Family Foundation. “We are delighted with the opportunity to bring Keri’s extensive experience and leadership to the University.”

Damen has proven expertise in building and developing programming that supports and empowers burgeoning entrepreneurs; success in connecting entrepreneurial activities on campus and in community; and developing global pipelines of opportunities for entrepreneurs.  As executive director, she will connect and champion the Hunter Hub as the centre of UCalgary’s growing, campus-wide network of entrepreneurial thinking and innovation that includes CDL-Rockies, the University Innovation Quarter, Innovate Calgary, and several other incubators that provide resources, mentorship and opportunities for entrepreneurial initiatives across campus.  

As president of a top research-driven institution that already excels at commercializing research, I’m very proud to continue to advance our role as a driver of creating immersive educational environments for entrepreneurs. Indeed, innovation — the key to a diverse and energetic economy — cannot thrive and soar without exceptional entrepreneurial thinking behind it.

I would like to thank the following faculty, staff, student, alumni and community members who participated on the search and selection committee: Susan Barker, Mark Blackwell, Ron Bridges, Jim Dewald, Carey Houston, Stephen Larter, Andrea Morris, Jessica Revington, Bill Rosehart, Pascale Sicotte, Jackie Sieppert and John Wilson.

Please join me in congratulating Keri on her appointment and welcoming her to the University of Calgary.

Ed McCauley
President and Vice-Chancellor