Not-for-profit Executive

Christina Fox chats about stepping into the CEO role at TechAlliance

Photo: Christina Fox

CHRISTINA FOX IS the new CEO of TechAlliance. Established in 2002, the regional innovation centre has an annual budget of about $1.35 million. London provides $200,000 in annual funding. It has 10 full-time staff, seven entrepreneurs-in-residence and a nine-member board of directors, headed by David Ciccarelli of Voices.com. Its annual meeting is October 10 and the public is welcome.

Prior to accepting the position at TechAlliance, Fox worked at 3M Canada as an ecommerce leader. She grew up in London and went to Regina Mundi Catholic College and Western University. She and her husband have a son enrolled at the Ivey Business School. They also have a dog and a cat. She likes reading, travelling, podcasts and live music. Fox works with Youth Opportunities Unlimited and is a past co-chair of Pillar Community Innovation Awards.


Congratulations on your new job. Were you looking for a new challenge or did someone suggest you consider the TechAlliance position?

TechAlliance has a significant opportunity to shape acceleration for our region’s tech entrepreneurs. As such, I became interested in, and was encouraged to join, the incredible team of people mobilizing resources to do just that. I am fascinated with global technological advancement and the rise of Canada on this world stage. I believe this role is a perfect convergence of my experience, ­combined with my network, my interest in collaborative partnership models and an appetite to create further growth in the tech industry. My husband is an entrepreneur, so I have first-hand knowledge of ideation and realization of a plan, while intimately understanding the passion—and lack of sleep—involved with launching a venture.

Do you remember a moment or gadget that first sparked your interest in technology?

Throughout my life, I have been an early adopter, trying new ­technologies in work and in play. Over the past couple of years, I have been more intrigued by AI. My interest in this space was further heightened as an adjudicator for Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec, a case competition for university students where the case was Microsoft Azure and its uptake by higher education as a contemporary learning tool.

What role does TechAlliance have in the city?

TechAlliance’s role is to support tech-based innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders in London and the surrounding region, encompassing Middlesex, Lambton, Elgin, Oxford and Huron Counties. That support ranges from one-on-one mentoring and professional ­development workshops to working collaboratively with our partners to address the challenges faced by start-ups and growing innovative companies.

Is there a tangible example of the organization performing that role?

Over 400 entrepreneurs and business leaders have graduated from Entrepreneur 1.0, our business boot camp offered in partnership with Ivey Business School. This annual 10-week course is targeted towards start-up and early-stage entrepreneurs and provides an intensive review of the fundamentals of launching a new venture.

Much of what we do as an organization happens under the radar, helping hundreds of entrepreneurs and their businesses each year. When sharing our narrative, we often put the spotlight where it belongs—on the ­innovators and business leaders bringing new tech to our community. That said, we are going to begin sharing the story of our impact more formally and with greater transparency and regularity.

There have been calls for more transparency regarding TechAlliance’s funding and operations. How will you address those concerns?

As a taxpayer-funded organization, TechAlliance takes accountability to funders seriously. This is reflected in the strong ­relationships we have with our municipal, provincial and federal funding partners. We will ­continue to report impacts and seek feedback from our clients, members and key stakeholders to ensure continuous improvement models for program delivery as needs evolve. Active feedback has resulted in both incremental improvements as well as the creation of new initiatives, like Tech Talent Exchange and new Grow Accelerator. Interview by Christopher Clark

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