Meet Our Program Director

Bruno Gomes

Program Director

An entrepreneur, product development enthusiast and technology executive. Bruno has 15 years of experience in planning, evaluating, commercializing new technologies, designing strategic roadmaps and managing applied research projects. He is an advisor in sectorial agencies, science parks and private innovation funds and has supported over 300 industry projects in innovation fundraising, innovation management, strategy, prototype development and business modelling within the last 5 years. He is an Innovation Project Manager in international projects between universities and industries.

Bruno has research and publications in technology innovation, startups, entrepreneurship, industry 4.0, business modelling, disruptive technologies. He has books published in industrial processes, and is a mentor in several studies in business, publishing articles in technology management and product development. He’s taught at FGV Business School in innovation and entrepreneurship at Brazil.

Meet Our Founders


Tamsin Plaxton

President and Managing Director

Tamsin obtained degrees in Economics and law before started her career as a lawyer, but her experience through university working at summer camps in Europe inspired her to quit her legal career early on to partner with Matt Collingwood and launch Tamwood International Camps. Through the years since the business launched, she has continued on her entrepreneurial journey by working with Matt to grow the business to include language schools, new camp locations, a career college and now the Global Startup School. Tamsin’s life was transformed by her experiences working and traveling overseas and her mission is to help others develop their talents, achieve their goals and realize their potential.


Matt Collingwood

President and CEO

Matt attended summer camp as a child and later worked summers while at in university as a camp counsellor. After completing a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Ottawa University, Matt began a career in banking and finance but quickly returned to his passion for summer camps when he and Tamsin Plaxton started Tamwood International Camps.  Matt has spearheaded the finance and operations of Tamwood as it grew to include more camps, three language schools and a career college. Matt obtained his CPA designation in 2013.

Meet Our Program Advisors


Tania Lo

Social Impact Entrepreneur | Contract COO/CFO

An entrepreneur and management consultant with 15 years in various roles in operations and finance in digital media, digital marketing, publishing and manufacturing industries. Tania worked with the vibrant startup community in Vancouver to create Tamwood Careers exciting new Diploma and Certificate program in Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

Tania works as a CFO for hire with Tandem Accounting Group and mentors with the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and Futurpreneur. She is the treasurer on the Board of Directors for the West Coast Environmental Law Association and serves on the Board of Directors of the Electric Theatre Company.  

Tania has worked with amazing startups including:  Vancouver Bike Share Inc. Momentum Mag, Alinker Inventions, Bitlit Media, Medicenna Therapeutics, Pique Ventures

Specialties:  Financial Management, Back-Office Systems Development, Digital Marketing Strategy, Startup execution, Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, Design Thinking


Scott Armstrong

Swimming with tigers launch a 25-year career in education.  Leaving a career in corporate banking and starting an exotic wildlife rehabilitation sanctuary and growing it into one of Canada’s premier environmental education centers was a start. Growing that passion for teaching and becoming Director of Entrepreneurship and Corporate Training at The British Columbia Institute of Technology allowed Scott to help guide over 2000 startup and growing businesses over a 10-year period.

With degrees in business and education Scott has written for several business publications, appeared on many television and radio programs and is the author of Start Me Up – An Entrepreneur’s Guidebook.

He is the creator the CFLPA Business Training Academy instructing CFL players to start up businesses after retiring from football and is the senior entrepreneur-in-residence for the Canadian Military helping veterans create their own enterprises.


Sharka Stuyt

Sharka is an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia and Capilano University. She has been involved in leadership development work in South America, and lead field study groups to China and Vietnam. Sharka has also taught in the MBA program at Simon Fraser University and recently developed and launched a new joint Masters in International business and management program.

Sharka for the past 25 years, has played a leading role in guiding and inspiring hundreds of individuals and companies to successfully realize their professional and business goals. Sharka’s expertise lies in assisting business leaders to take their management capabilities and organizational results to the next level. Her key strength is facilitating and accelerating growth and change, leading to increased results.

Her remarkable career began when Sharka emerged as a technology ‘change maker’ in the 1980’s, as Vice President, Sales & Marketing and Director of Marketing with Stratford Software and Bedford Software Inc. launching the highly acclaimed Simply Accounting software to the world market. This success lead to the acquisition of the company by competitor Computer Associates.

Next In the early 1990’s, Sharka, expanded her expertise to become the Worldwide Director of Marketing for Toronto based ATI Technologies Inc. where she contributed to increasing revenues from 159 million to 232 million in only three years. ATI was the world’s leading video graphics board and chip manufacturer. Sharka remained with the company until a successful IPO in 1995. The company was later acquired by Advanced Micro Devices for $5.6 billion. One of Canada’s greatest success stories.


Christopher Pommerening

Christopher Venturepreneur, a serial entrepreneur and venture investor. He founded 10 companies and organisations, has invested in more than 30 start-ups and raised more than $100 million for his venture capital company ACTIVE Venture Partners and has exited from portfolio companies with an aggregated value of more than $400 million. Christopher has dedicated his time to his life’s mission to empower the next generation of young entrepreneurs to innovate, grow, become more successful and increase their positive impact on the world.

He is a mentor to young entrepreneurs, a board advisor and board member to several high growth startups, he is a speaker at universities and conferences and he is an active member and chairman on several initiatives promoting the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit in today’s society. He helps government organisations on a regional, national and international level to establish the right frameworks and infrastructures to support high growth entrepreneurs and innovative startups within cities and countries.

Currently Christopher is Founder & CEO of Our Dream School, Founding Partner of ACTIVE Venture Partners, member of the Board of Directors of Traity and founding Board Member of Barcelona Tech City, Board Advisor of Ticketbis and Whisbi Technologies, Non Executive co-founder and Advisor of Foundum and Linqia, member of the Venture Committee of ASCRI, Chairman of the Venturepreneurs’ Organisation, founding member of Barcelona Global and Strategic Advisor of the Mobile World Capital and Startup Bootcamp IoT.


He has a passion for life-long-learning and attended the European Business School London for a degree in International Business & Management and the EO Entrepreneurial Master Program at MIT.


Keith Ippel

With over 15 years experience as a leader in technology centric businesses, Keith has accelerated the growth of both small and large companies, launched new products, and raised over $20m in angel investment and venture capital. He has an unparalleled ability to collaborate with entrepreneurs, employees, and investors to deliver amazing products to the market. Keith is passionate about creating opportunities that previously did not exist for people and co-founded Spring to bring that into the social venture space.


Sandra Nomoto


Sandra has always loved writing stories. As a child, she cared about world issues but didn’t have the right outlet to express that awareness. After nearly two years working in a Public Relations firm, she knew that the corporate world wasn’t for her, and started a business to do PR her own way in 2008. With 10 years of Public Relations experience, she is one humble human on a mission to help companies and events tell stories of positive social and environmental change through traditional and social media. This service is what she considers her dream job.

Sandra was raised in Vancouver, BC and is a member of LOCO BC and the Vancouver Chapter of eWomenNetwork, which she helped to win the Best Social Media and Community Engagement Award in 2016. She was a founding Board member of the Vancouver Short Film Festival and is launching a personal site in 2017 at She is a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation, and has been called a trailblazer, a wonderful being, and a rock star by her beloved peers.


Sam Thiara


Through his tireless work, Sam continues to be committed to the betterment of communities. In December 2012, he received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and in 2006, he received the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award for leadership and community involvement. His passion is to inspire and motivate others in their personal and professional development through his many adventures and reflections on life’s journeys.

In 2014, Sam published his book, Personal Storytelling: Discover the Extraordinary in the Ordinary and is an avid blogger and speaker. Sam is also Co-Founder and Chief Motivating Officer at GradusOne, an organization to help young people in their life and career. Since 2004, Sam has found his calling at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University in student engagement, community relations and more recently as a lecturer. Having mentored hundreds and engaged thousands, he is also an affordable coach to high school/post secondary/young professionals and international students in their life journey.

Paulina Cameron

Paulina is an impact-driven leader. She is currently the Director for BC & Yukon at Futurpreneur Canada – a national NPO providing early stage resources, mentorship, and financing to startup entrepreneurs aged 18-39. Paulina also currently serves on the Government of Canada’s Expert Panel on Youth Employment, advising the Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister of Youth, and is one of Simon Fraser University’s leading innovators, as a visiting professor teaching Entrepreneurship and Innovation.


In 2008, Paulina was a founding director of Young Women in Business and grew the organization to be Canada’s largest non-profit providing personal and leadership development of millennial women. Previously, Paulina gained her business expertise working at KPMG in audit and management consulting, obtaining the CPA, CA designation. Paulina frequently coaches + advises rising stars, and is committed to advancing diversity and youth engagement.


She has been recognized in the community for her significant contributions, including being awarded the Vancouver Board of Trade’s inaugural Wendy McDonald Award, The International Alliance for Women Top 100 Award in Washington DC, the KPMG National Leadership Award, and was a finalist for the YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards, in the Young Woman of Distinction category.


Sunny Hundle

Sunny Hundle is the Executive Director, Business Development and Operations for The Profile Coworking Business Club. A club that believes in people who crave inspiration, community, knowledge, and sharing ideas. An extensive background in business development and management, he is passionate about building strong relationships, and people together. Sunny specializes in negotiation, growth strategies, account management, and employee training. Brought on to lead The Profile’s current expansion to Lower Lonsdale, Downtown Vancouver, Kelowna; and to the next destination of the growing coworking network.


Yoav Artzi

Yoav is the product manager of eRated. eRated is a Data company for business intelligence and predictive insights to eCommerce suppliers who sell online. Yoav has more than 10 years of experience in the field of design, animation and motion graphics. His work experience is diverse; Yoav worked with hundreds of companies world wide, consulted and mentored many young entrepreneurs and took part of 2 major accelerators: Techsters London and Masschallange Boston.

Yoav holds a B.A. in Communication, with a major in entrepreneurship from the Zell Program at IDC Herzliya. Yoav is an entrepreneurial leader, creative thinker and educator who is passionate about building world class, creative products with a winning simple user experience.


Crystal Lee

Crystal Lee is a professional coach, facilitator, and entrepreneur with a passion for social innovation. She loves to provide experiences that help people shift perspective and catalyze action. Sometimes, that means bringing laughter yoga into workplaces to promote wellness and teamwork. Other times, it means coaching changemakers to go and keep going towards their dreams. The common thread is to empower people with joy, purpose, and resilience. Before becoming a Certified Professional Coach and Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, Crystal received a Master of Public Health degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Connect with Crystal at


Praveen K. Varshney, FCPA, FCA

Varshney Capital Corp., Director

Mr. Varshney has been a principal of Varshney Capital Corp., a Vancouver based merchant banking, venture capital and corporate advisory services firm, since 1991.  Mr. Varshney obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia in 1987 and is a FCPA, FCA.

He is a director or officer of various publicly traded companies including Mogo (Co-Founder) and BetterU Education Corp.  He is also a Co-Founder of G-PAK and former CFO of Carmanah Technologies Corp. which became Canada’s largest solar company.  He also was Co-Founder of a predecessor of Mountain Province Diamonds who’s Gahcho Kué in September 2016 became the world’s largest new diamond mine since 2003 & De Beers’ second-largest producer behind its Jwaneng mine in Botswana.

Mr. Varshney is a Toniic member and a long-time member of both EO Entrepreneurs Organization & TiE (Founding Director).  He’s also on a number of non-profit boards such as The Varshney Family Charitable Foundation, and a Founding Member of  He’s also an SVP Vancouver Partner, a Vancouver Police Foundation Trustee, and on the Advisory boards of Room to Read – Vancouver and The Thomas Edison Innovation Foundation in New Jersey, USA.

Mr. Varshney is also a past recipient of Business in Vancouver’s 40 Under 40 Awards.

Meet Our Partners