During her five-year term as Ryerson University’s Vice-President of Research and Innovation, Wendy Cukier transformed her unit to support the growth of research and to promote innovation and commercialization. Under her leadership, research and partnerships expanded, driving an increase in external funding by more than 60% over 5 years. Dr. Cukier lead the development of large institutional projects and proposals, including the Centre for Cloud and Context Aware Computing (RC4) ($2m); Canadian Accelerator and Incubator (CAIP) partnership on Digital Media and Gaming ($10.5m); Maytree Global Diversity Exchange ($2.5m); Social Enterprise Development Fund and McConnell RECODE Program ($1m); RBC Immigrant, Diversity and Inclusion Program ($1.7m), Advanced Digital and Professional Training ($1.5m); Dr. Cukier led efforts to acquire a significant increase in partnerships and international funding with prestigious institutions including Tsinghua in China, IITs in India, and others. Previously, she was the first Associate Dean of the Ted Rogers School of Management, leading the development of new MBA programs, dramatically expanding research activities, and gaining accreditation by the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business. She continues to teach and mentor students in several programs at Ryerson University.

Dr. Cukier is one of Canada’s leading experts in disruptive technologies, innovation processes and diversity. She began her career working in technology forecasting with the Institute for the Future (Menlo Park) and Don Tapscott among others and remains interested in emerging technologies, their diffusion and impact. In recent years her work has focused on the drivers and impediments to technology adoption in different vertical markets as well as the much publicized skills gap in the technology sector.

Dr. Cukier’s work has focused on promoting entrepreneurship and strengthening innovation ecosystems and she is coauthor of the bestseller “Innovation Nation: Canadian Leadership from Java to Jurassic Park.” She serves on a host of boards in the private and nonprofit sectors and has helped create and grow several successful startups and social ventures including Flybits, Think2Thing and Growing North.

Dr. Cukier is the Founder and Director of Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, which she founded in 1999 and has led projects aimed at promoting the participation and advancement of underrepresented groups. She has assisted organizations in becoming more inclusive through innovative programs such as DiversityLeads, which tracks the progress, impediments and evidenced-based strategies for promoting diversity in organizations.

Finally Wendy Cukier is a well regarded champion of social justice, she has studied models of change and pioneered the adaptation of ecological models of complex systems change. She is one of a handful of Canadians participating in the prestigious European Union’s SI DRIVE initiative looking at models of social change across sectors and in countries around the world. Dr. Cukier spearheaded Ryerson’s social innovation strategy to help engage faculty and students from across the university in all disciplines in the innovation agenda. This included leading the bid to become Canada’s first Ashoka Changemaker Campus.She also spearheaded development of the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenged which mobilized 1000 volunteers and raised $5m to privately sponsor more than 400 Syrian refugees.

An active volunteer, her work has been widely recognized for its impact. She is a recipient of the Governor General’s Meritorious Cross, one of Canada’s highest civilian honours. She was also named one of the University of Toronto’s 100 Alumni Who Shaped the Century, was selected in 2013 as one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence and in 2010 was selected as one of 25 Transformational Canadians by The Globe and Mail, La Presse and CTV. More recently, she received the Black Business Professional Association’s Harry Jerome Diversity Award, and The Canada Pakistan Business Council’s Professional of the Year Award.



Wendy Cukier

Ashkoka Changemaker

Ontario Pre-Budget Consultation supported by Dr. Wendy Cukier and the Diversity Institute

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