While taking the train as a student at the University of Toronto, Anne developed a flexible keyboard to keep her laptop from falling off her knees as she typed. Determined to figure out how to bring the new technology to market, Anne called hundreds of experts and experienced entrepreneurs and innovators to learn about the process of commercialization. As she was working on her patent and the keyboard prototype, Anne realized that collaboration was a crucial element of bringing new technologies to market and she wanted to share the information and network she had built with other young innovators and entrepreneurs.
Anne founded the not-for-profit Young Inventors International (YII) and decided to harness the power of web 2.0, which was still in its infancy, to build the first online community to connect and train student innovators. Apart from building an online presence for YII, Anne worked with experts to develop innovation and venture workshops for students, eventually presenting them at more than 30 universities, colleges, and conferences across North America, including Boston University, Northeastern University, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Wisconsin at Madison, National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, University of Waterloo, Olin College, National Business Technology Conference, FIRST Robotics Competition, University of Toronto, Queen’s University, Carleton University, and University of Western Ontario. Within five years, Anne grew Young Inventors to thousands of members, held four international conferences at the University of Toronto and MIT, and spearheaded partnership with the Dow Jones Emerging Ventures Forum, Xerox, Pratt & Whitney, DuPont, and Mitsubishi. Her work has appeared in many media outlets, including Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Spectrum Magazine, Inventors’ Digest, NPR, Science Online Magazine, Forbes, National Post Business Magazine, Breakfast Television, University Affairs, TVOntario, and the Toronto Star.
Apart from working directly with innovators and technology start-ups, Anne has also worked with other organizations to research and building ecosystems to support innovators and entrepreneurs. While at the University of Toronto, Anne was the only undergraduate student to work with faculty and graduate students at the Innovation Systems Research Network to design performance measures to determine the effectiveness of technology clusters; the performance measures were applied in a $2.5 million study and Anne presented her work, An Inductive Approach to Measuring Clusters in Canada (with Greg Spencer and Tara Vinodrai) at the Innovation Systems Research Network Annual Meeting.
After graduating with highest distinction with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science, Anne continued learning about innovation, earning a certificate in the Management of Innovation and a certificate in Intellectual Property Management from the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Anne started her first business, a database management software company, while still in high school after designing a patient database for Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. In her first year of university, she expanded her company to provide business development services to technology start-ups locating in North America from Europe and Asia.
- Intellectual Property Rights and Continental Governance in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Chapter in Prof. Stephen Clarkson’s book on North American Governance (2008)
- The Effect of Government-Issued Private Equity on Start-Up Performance (with
Robert Lowe and Matthew Hamilton), part of research project at Carnegie
Mellon University supported by the Kauffman Foundation (2006-2007)
- Seahorse Power Company, Case Study Used in Social Entrepreneurship course at Babson College (2006)
- Providing Alternative Incentives to Innovation, Presented at the Canadian Law and Economics Association Annual Meeting (September 2003)
- Profiled in college textbook, Your Guide to College Success: Strategies for Achieving Your Goals 5/e, by Santrock and Halonen
Anne has always been committed to social entrepreneurship, working with the corporate philanthropy team and the CEO of Magna International to design an international program in girls' education, conducting research at the University of Toronto Law School in the area of law and economics of development, and organizing three conferences (in one summer!) for hundreds of kids as the International Conference Coordinator for Free the Children.
In early 2008, Anne co-founded a solar thermal start-up. She has previously worked on the marketing team at SunRun Inc.
Read Anne's column for Xconomy.
Awards and Scholarships
- One of GLAMOUR Magazine’s Top Ten College Women – “Most likely to change the world”
- Nominated for MIT Technology Review’s Top 35 Innovators under 35
- Named one of Top 20 under 30 by Citizen Culture Magazine
- Nominated by University of Toronto Vice-President for the Top 40 Under 40 Award
- Recognized as one of the University of Toronto Alumni to Watch
- University College Young Alumna Recognition
- University of Toronto Scholarships (various)
- Institute for Humane Studies’ Research Fellowship
- Magna for Canada Scholarship (As Prime Minister, I Would…)
- Aiming for the Top Tuition Scholarship
- Governor General’s Academic Medal for Academic Achievement
- Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award
- Miller Thomson Foundation Scholarship
- Debbie Adam Memorial Scholarship
- Ontario Co-Op Student of the Year Award (for work at Mount Sinai Hospital)
- Nominated for Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year