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Our Operations Team

Portrait of Alex Baron exuding warmth and professionalism
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Alex Baron graduated from the University of Alberta Augustana Campus in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts – English, and then completed a Bachelor of Arts – Communications from the University of Calgary in 2016. In his career, Alex has had the opportunity to work in some truly unique places, allowing him to pursue his two key interests – creating memorable guest experiences and telling great stories. This includes working at the Walt Disney World Resort, Heritage Park Historical Village, and the University of Calgary. His interests outside of work include travel and photography.

Communications Advisor

Alex Baron

Portrait of Jill de Grood exuding leadership qualities, characterized by a confident and poised demeanor
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Jill de Grood jointly leads the W21C Research and Innovation Centre with Dr. Jaime Kaufman, PhD. Together, Jill and Jaime support the strategic direction of the initiative, promoting W21C’s value proposition as an organization dedicated to research, innovation, and education. They support day-to-day W21C operations and processes, and lead specific portfolios.

Jill completed her Master’s degree in Sociology at the University of Calgary. Her thesis project examined factors impacting lawyer’s physical and mental health. She completed a Certificate in Professional Management in 2015 and received her Project Management Professional Certification in 2018.

Jill has been in an evolving leadership role with W21C for more than nine years, and became Director of the Centre in 2013. Over the years, Jill has led and been involved in numerous industry partner projects in areas such as technology assessment, infection prevention and control, and examining the effectiveness and impact of health care innovations for patient care. Jill is a published author with fourteen journal publications along with a number of knowledge translation pieces.

As Director of Development and Partnerships, Jill continues to bring a strategic perspective to the W21C, to solve challenges and identify opportunities for the Centre. Jill is responsible for establishing and enhancing new and existing community partnerships with government and external organizations. Jill oversees the clinical trials and human factors teams in conjunction with Michelle Wright. She is also accountable for externally focused innovation support programs like SPARK Calgary.

W21C Leadership Representative

Jill de Grood

Maryam has a Bachelor of Community Rehabilitation degree and a Master of Management degree, both from the University of Calgary. Specializing in strategy, project management, and stakeholder relations, Maryam has successfully led teams, managed projects, and executed plans within diverse business domains. Her expertise includes strategic analysis, client communication, and a detail-oriented approach to data management. Maryam brings a unique blend of academic excellence, professional acumen, and a passion for community service to every project, making her a dynamic and versatile contributor to the W21C team.

Operations Coordinator

Maryam Ali

Shane holds a master’s degree in Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology from Simon Fraser University and is a Project Management Institute certified Project Management Professional. He has extensive experience in leading interdisciplinary teams, strategic planning, and working with various stakeholder groups. Prior to joining the W21C, Shane developed and managed a variety of projects relating to pediatric health outcomes, health technology, and neuroscience with the Alberta Children’s Hospital Neuropsychology Service. He has also previously worked as a Research Coordinator with the University of Calgary Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre and as a Research Associate with the Simon Fraser University Injury Prevention and Mobility Lab. Prior to his role as Program Manager, Shane coordinated the W21C Digital Health Colloboratorium initiative. Outside of work, Shane enjoys participating in a variety of sports including hockey, basketball, and skiing.

Hub Manager

Shane Virani

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