Leadership Team | About D2L
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Leadership

Meet the team who is transforming the way the world learns. Learn more about senior leadership at D2L.

Senior Leadership

Board of Directors
John Baker image

John Baker

President and CEO

John founded D2L in 1999, at the age of twenty-two, while attending the University of Waterloo. He strongly believes that learning is the foundation upon which all progress and achievement rests.

Read more about John Baker

John Baker

John Baker

President and CEO

John founded D2L in 1999, at the age of twenty-two, while attending the University of Waterloo. He strongly believes that learning is the foundation upon which all progress and achievement rests.

He is a member of the Business Council of Canada, board member of the Business Higher Education Roundtable, member of the Industry Strategy Council in Canada, Chair of the Digital Economic Strategy Table in Canada, has served on the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, is the Past Chair of the board of Communitech, and is a board member of Canada’s National Ballet School.

John was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year (Ontario for Software and Technology), Young Alumni Achievement Medal from University of Waterloo, and Intrepid Entrepreneur of the Year in Waterloo Region Hall of Fame.

John graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours B.A.Sc. in Systems Design Engineering, with First Class Honours and an option in Management Sciences.

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Melissa Howatson

Chief Financial Officer

Melissa has over twenty years of experience enabling business growth by leading key financial and administrative functions. She brings this experience to D2L to support and identify business opportunities which enable the development and scalability of the organization.

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Melissa Howatson

Melissa Howatson

Chief Financial Officer

Melissa has over twenty years of experience enabling business growth by leading key financial and administrative functions in emergent companies. Coupled with her passion for community involvement, and helping to improve access to numerous social services including education, makes her a valued member of the executive team.

Prior to joining D2L in 2013, Melissa worked as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer for the technology startups, Qwalify, Primal Fusion, as well as within the automotive industry with Bend All Automotive. Proving her expertise, Melissa has consistently been instrumental in helping companies grow exponentially in dynamic industries. She brings this experience to D2L to support and identify business activities and opportunities which enable the development and scalability of the organization.

Melissa has an Honors Business Administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and a CPA-CA designation obtained while working at KPMG. As well, Melissa is an active community volunteer, having been involved with Junior Achievement, Women’s Crisis Services, Communitech, as the President, Treasurer, and Board Member for Family and Children’s Services Foundation and as a member of the Board of Governors for St John’s Kilmarnock School.

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Puneet Arora

Chief Revenue Officer

Puneet is responsible for Global Revenue. He has over twenty years of sales and go to market experience with early stage, mid stage and very successful SaaS companies.

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Puneet Arora

Puneet Arora

Chief Revenue Officer

Puneet leads Global Revenue for D2L. He has over 20 years of sales and go-to-market experience with early-stage, mid-stage, and established SaaS companies. He joined D2L from 8×8, a global telephony and cloud communications leader, where he was SVP of global sales. In that role, he was instrumental in the company doubling its revenue by moving upmarket and expanding globally through both direct and indirect channels.

Before 8×8, Puneet ran North American sales for Liveperson, a leader in enterprise digital engagement solutions for midmarket and enterprise accounts. Before Liveperson, Puneet ran Americas West Cloud CRM sales for Oracle and was vice president of corporate sales at Salesforce.com. Earlier in his career, Puneet saw successful IPOs with Selectica and pcOrder.com.

Puneet received his bachelor’s in computer engineering from Iowa State University and his MBA from Babson College. Puneet lives in the Bay Area in California with his wife and two children.

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Anna Forgione

Chief Legal Officer

Anna joined the company in 2013 and brings over 20 years of experience in corporate leadership, technology advocacy, business development, negotiations, and strategic planning. She is the Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary for the company and oversees all legal, governance, regulatory and compliance matters for D2L worldwide. Her responsibilities include directing company transactional, intellectual property, litigation, and acquisition matters.

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Anna Forgione

Anna Forgione

Chief Legal Officer

Anna joined the company in 2013 and brings over 20 years of experience in corporate leadership, technology advocacy, business development, negotiations, and strategic planning. She is the Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary for the company and oversees all legal, governance, regulatory and compliance matters for D2L worldwide. Her responsibilities include directing company transactional, intellectual property, litigation, and acquisition matters.

Before joining D2L, Anna served as general counsel Americas for Open Text Corporation and assistant general counsel for Geac Computer Corporation. Anna was also a founding executive of [email protected] Anna is an engaged community leader and holds various directorships for non-profit organizations, including The Canadian Children’s Opera Company.

Anna holds a J.D. from Osgoode Hall and has been a member of the Ontario Bar Association since 1994.

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Stephen Laster

Chief Operating Officer

Stephen leads technology, engineering and design, product management, and customer engagement at D2L. He is focused on delivering world-class product and customer experiences that enable D2L’s customers to reimagine learning.

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Stephen Laster

Stephen Laster

Chief Operating Officer

Stephen leads technology, engineering and design, product management, and customer engagement at D2L. He is focused on delivering world-class product and customer experiences that enable D2L’s customers to reimagine learning.

Stephen has over 25 years of leadership experience in digital transformation, product development and technology enablement. Before joining D2L, Stephen was the Chief Product Officer of Ellucian, the market-leading student information system provider for global higher education. Prior to Ellucian, Stephen held critical roles including Chief Product Officer for Penn Foster, Chief Digital Officer for McGraw Hill Education, and Chief Information Officer for the Harvard Business School. He also served as a Trustee, member of the faculty, and head of innovation for Babson College. Previously, Stephen founded and ran Intelligent Solutions, LLC, a higher education technology consulting firm. Stephen has been a board member of IMS Global, Microsoft Higher Education Advisory Board, The Online Learning Consortium, and FineTune Learning.

Stephen holds a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College and an MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. He lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts with his wife Debi and their two children.

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Nick Oddson

Chief Technology Officer

Nick brings over twenty years of design and enterprise-level software experience to his role with D2L. He’s responsible for guiding the product team as they continue to scale and develop the company’s industry-leading learning solutions.

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Nick Oddson

Nick Oddson

Chief Technology Officer

As its chief technology officer, Nick brings over 20 years of design and enterprise-level software experience to his role with D2L. He leads the product team as they continue to scale and develop the company’s industry-leading learning solutions.

Before joining D2L, Nick was SVP of research and development for Open Text Corporation. He supervised an engineering organization of more than 1,000 employees distributed globally across 40 offices as the company scaled through significant acquisitions. During that time, Nick worked to drive common technology approaches, efficiency, and KPIs in product teams, and deeper integration between product portfolios.

Nick continues to support technology start-ups locally (previously through work on the Communitech board and various programs like Hyperdrive and VeloCity), with the goal to contribute to the next generation of sustainable and inclusive software companies and the evolution of our unique region in Canada. In 2013, he was awarded the Region of Waterloo’s Top 40 Under 40 Award in recognition of his contributions to the arts and technology communities.

Nick studied computer science and physics at the University of Waterloo.

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Tom Donnelly

Chief Corporate Development Officer

Tom leads corporate development and new business ventures at D2L. He is focused on building and managing a rich ecosystem of partners and new business models that support D2L’s goal of transforming the way the world learns.

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Tom Donnelly

Tom Donnelly

Chief Corporate Development Officer

Tom leads corporate development and new business ventures at D2L. He is focused on building and managing a rich ecosystem of partners and new business models that support D2L’s goal of transforming the way the world learns.

Tom is the former chief operating officer of Sandvine Incorporated, a Waterloo-based networking company he co-founded in August 2001 that began to trade on the London and Toronto Stock exchanges in 2006. Sandvine was acquired by American private equity firm Francisco Partners in 2017. Before Sandvine, Tom was vice president of global sales and subsequently vice president of strategic partners at PixStream Incorporated. Cisco Systems acquired PixStream in 1999. Tom also served as vice president of sales and marketing for West End Systems, an affiliate of Newbridge Networks. Tom has lived and worked in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan, and now he and his family call Ottawa home.

Tom is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and the Executive Development Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

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Yvonne Bell

Senior Vice President, People and Culture

Yvonne leads D2L’s People and Culture team, including talent acquisition, leadership development, diversity and inclusion, talent management, total rewards, retention, and career coaching. She works closely with D2L’s business leaders to ensure that D2L’s People and Culture strategy aligns with D2L’s business strategy to drive the company’s organizational performance and growth.

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Yvonne Bell

Yvonne Bell

Senior Vice President, People and Culture

Yvonne leads D2L’s People and Culture team, including talent acquisition, leadership development, diversity and inclusion, talent management, total rewards, retention, and career coaching. She works closely with D2L’s business leaders to ensure that D2L’s People and Culture strategy aligns with D2L’s business strategy to drive the company’s organizational performance and growth.

Before joining D2L, Yvonne was the VP of global HR organization effectiveness and talent at OpenText, where she was involved in more than 35 acquisitions, led or contributed to People and Culture teams, successfully worked to assimilate acquisitions into company standards and practices, and merged organizations focusing on the engagement and integration of cultures, leaders, and employees. Yvonne has also held successive positions of responsibility at KPMG Canada and Toyota.

Yvonne is passionate about caring for others and healthy living, and is a huge supporter of dogs, having successfully adopted several dogs of her own. She holds a degree in sociology and psychology from the University of Waterloo, Post Grad Diploma in career development from Conestoga College, and a Leadership Development Certificate from the University of Western Ontario.

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Jeremy Auger

Chief Strategy Officer

Jeremy drives D2L’s strategy, public affairs, strategic communications, D2L Labs, new ventures, IP strategy, and philanthropy.

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Jeremy Auger

Jeremy Auger

Chief Strategy Officer

Jeremy drives D2L’s strategy, public affairs, strategic communications, D2L Labs, new ventures, IP strategy, and philanthropy.

Jeremy has been actively involved in starting and running transformative tech companies for over 20 years and was part of the founding team at D2L. Since D2L’s founding, he has served as the COO and CTO, and continues to take a leadership role in driving the organization’s success as its chief strategy officer.

Beyond the tech sector, Jeremy has helped advise policymakers in a variety of ways—most recently as a member of the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Council, where he advised on a national strategy on the future of skills, work, and learning. He is also an advisor on ISTE’s Education Industry Advisory Council and is a national board member for TECHNATION—Canada’s Technology Industry Association. He is a past chair of the Economic Development Advisory Board for the city of Kitchener, Canada, and a former board member for the IMS Global Learning Consortium.

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Christian Pantel

Senior Vice President, User Experience Design and Product Development

Christian is responsible for the Brightspace user experience. With a deep empathy for learners and educators, Christian and his teams design and build experiences that foster lifelong learning for everyone.

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Christian Pantel

Christian Pantel

Senior Vice President, User Experience Design and Product Development

As senior vice president, user experience design and product development, at D2L, Christian leads teams of UX researchers, product designers, developers, testers, and accessibility specialists in all D2L’s locations.

In the design and development of products, Christian’s focus is on users. With deep empathy for learners and educators, D2L delivers user experiences that support lifelong learning for everyone. During his more than six years at D2L, Christian has led a transformation of Brightspace. Always known as a full-featured and flexible learning platform, Brightspace is now also recognized for its modern and intuitive user interface.

Christian has over 20 years of experience designing and building software at notable enterprise software companies, including Workday, Infor, and PeopleSoft. Christian earned a Master of Science in computing science from Simon Fraser University, specializing in human-computer interaction and Web-based learning environments. He also holds a Bachelor of Computer Science (Honours) from the University of Manitoba. Christian lives in Winnipeg with his wife and four children.

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Adam Moore

Senior Vice President, Strategic Accounts

Adam is responsible for overseeing strategic opportunities while supporting critical business development opportunities. He works with both the sales and account management teams at D2L on a global basis.

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Adam Moore

Adam Moore

Senior Vice President, Strategic Accounts

Adam is responsible for overseeing strategic opportunities while supporting critical business development opportunities. He works with both the sales and account management teams at D2L on a global basis. He is focused on expanding D2L’s business and strengthening partnerships across core higher education, K-12, corporate, and government segments while ensuring the highest level of customer commitment, satisfaction, and retention.

Adam brings over twenty years of leadership experience to D2L, having held senior positions with a number of Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller, mid-market, high growth organizations including Purolator Courier, Ryder, and Descartes Systems Group.

Adam graduated from Bishop’s University with a Bachelor of Business Administration.

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Elliot Gowans

Senior Vice President, International

Elliot Gowans is senior vice president, international, at D2L, and leads the company’s commercial activities outside of North America—across the Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Latin America regions.

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Elliot Gowans

Elliot Gowans

Senior Vice President, International

Elliot Gowans is senior vice president, international, at D2L, and leads the company’s commercial activities outside of North America—across the Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Latin America regions. Before joining D2L in 2015, Elliot spent more than 10 years at software and services firm Blackbaud Inc., where he served in a variety of senior commercial roles, including as general manager within Blackbaud’s European division. Elliot hails from Scotland but has called London, England, where he lives with his wife and two kids, home for more than 15 years.

Elliot holds an MA (Hons) in philosophy from the University of Glasgow, an MSc in international finance and management from The Open University Business School, and a PgDip in information management systems from Glasgow Caledonian University. Elliot is passionate about formal and informal education, lifelong learning, and technology.

 

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Mudit Garg

Senior Vice-President, Revenue

Mudit leads D2L’s global go-to-market (GTM) functions, including revenue operations, sales enablement, business development and global channel sales.

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Mudit Garg

Mudit Garg

Senior Vice-President, Revenue

Mudit leads D2L’s global go-to-market (GTM) functions, including revenue operations, sales enablement, business development and global channel sales. Mudit specializes in driving predictable and responsible revenue growth, and building a strong operating cadence and execution rhythm at the company, working closely with product, finance, marketing and sales teams.

Mudit is a SaaS GTM leader with over 20 years of experience building and transforming revenue organizations to lead with value-selling and metrics-oriented revenue growth. Mudit has proven track record of delivering on shareholder value and customer delight.

Mudit started his career in pre-sales at SAP Asia and then joined management consulting at Deloitte’s SFO-Bay Area office after earning his MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. From management consulting, Mudit switched to McAfee and rose through the ranks to run GTM strategy and operations for McAfee’s B2B business. After McAfee’s acquisition, Mudit went on to build the revenue operations function at 8×8, a leading SaaS communications provider.

Mudit loves everything outdoors, from hiking to fitness to yoga, and is an avid cricket fan. He lives in Cupertino, California with his wife and children.

Board of Directors

John Baker image

John Baker

Chairman of the Board

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John Baker

John Baker

Chairman of the Board

John founded D2L in 1999, at the age of twenty-two, while attending the University of Waterloo. He strongly believes that learning is the foundation upon which all progress and achievement rests.

He is a member of the Business Council of Canada, board member of the Business Higher Education Roundtable, member of the Industry Strategy Council in Canada, Chair of the Digital Economic Strategy Table in Canada, has served on the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, is the Past Chair of the board of Communitech, and is a board member of Canada’s National Ballet School.

John was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year (Ontario for Software and Technology), Young Alumni Achievement Medal from University of Waterloo, and Intrepid Entrepreneur of the Year in Waterloo Region Hall of Fame.

John graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours B.A.Sc. in Systems Design Engineering, with First Class Honours and an option in Management Sciences.

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J. Ian Giffen

Lead Director

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J. Ian Giffen

J. Ian Giffen

Lead Director

Mr. J. Ian Giffen FCPA, joined the D2L Board in 2016 and is currently Chairman of Kinaxis Inc. ( KSX.TSX ) and a Director of a number of other private companies. In addition, he is active in the not for profit sector and currently serves on the Boards of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank.

From 1992 to 1996, Mr. Giffen was Vice-President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer at Alias Research Inc. (until it was sold to Silicon Graphics Inc. for approximately $500 million). Since 1996, Mr. Giffen has advised several private venture investment funds, and has served on the boards of a number of public and private companies including Macromedia Inc., (from 1997 to 2005 until it was sold to Adobe Systems Inc. for $4 billion), Descartes Systems Group Inc. (Chairman from 2004 to 2011), Ruggedcom Inc., MKS Inc., DPS Inc., Corel Corporation Inc., Certicom Corporation Inc., Financial Models Inc., 724 Solutions Inc. (Chairman), Sierra Systems Group Inc., and Open Text Corporation Inc. Mr. Giffen is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (CPA Ontario).and has a Designation in Corporate Finance. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and worked with KPMG in Glasgow from 1978 to 1982.

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Robert Courteau

Director

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Robert Courteau

Robert Courteau

Director

Robert Courteau is a corporate director and executive advisor. He sits on the boards of Kinaxis Inc. and LifeWorks, and currently serves as vice chair of the Holland Bloorview Hospital Foundation. Most recently, he was chief executive officer of Altus Group and prior to this role, Mr. Courteau was a global corporate executive with SAP AG. Throughout his various executive positions, Mr. Courteau has refined his expertise and insights into global market leadership, advisory services, enterprise application software and data solutions. He holds a bachelor of commerce degree and was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Concordia University. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors further recognized his dedication and innovative leadership in 2014, awarding him a fellowship.
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Tim Connor

Director

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Tim Connor

Tim Connor

Director

Tim Connor has been a Partner of NewView Capital, a growth equity investment firm based in Burlingame, California, since September 2018. Tim has over 35 years of experience working with high-growth, technology-driven companies as an investor, investment banker and public and private company operating executive. Before joining NewView Capital, Tim was the Chief Financial Officer of Code42, an enterprise SaaS provider of data security, from February 2016 to August 2018. Prior, Tim was Chief Financial Officer of Datalogix, a data and analytics provider, from December 2012 through its acquisition by Oracle in 2015. Earlier in his career, Tim was a Managing Director in Lehman Brothers Technology Investment Banking team advising companies on IPOs, other public equity and debt financings and merger and acquisition transactions. Tim holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics from Washington College.
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Tracy Edkins

Director

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Tracy Edkins

Tracy Edkins

Director

Tracy Edkins is a board member and advisor bringing over 25 years of experience as a business-oriented HR partner for industry leaders, including Splunk, eBay, and Starbucks. As a director for D2L since 2021, she also serves as Chair of the Compensation Committee. Additionally, Tracy serves on the board of Happy Money, a mission-led financial technology company that helps borrowers become savers. She is also an advisor to Generation Investment Management, Plan C Advisors, iCIMS, Findem and Lacework. In the non-profit space, she serves on the board of ArtHouse Studio, a non-profit focused on partnering Fortune 500 companies to bring innovation and creativity to underserved students.

Tracy has expertise in product, engineering, sales and marketing across commerce, service and technology sectors. She is a trusted advisor to CEOs and executive management on alignment of culture throughout an organization. She is well known for her ability to engage employees as key stakeholders, particularly in industries where talent is the key asset to success and she has deep executive compensation, succession planning and team effectiveness expertise.

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Right Honourable David Johnston

Director

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Right Honourable David Johnston

Right Honourable David Johnston

Director

The Right Honourable David Johnston was Canada’s 28th governor general. During his mandate, he established the Rideau Hall Foundation (RHF), a registered charity that supports and amplifies the Office of the Governor General in its work to connect, honour and inspire Canadians. Today, he is actively involved as Chair of the RHF Board of Directors.

In 2018, David was appointed Colonel to the Royal Canadian Regiment. Prior to his installation as governor general, David was a professor of law for 45 years, and served as President of the University of Waterloo for two terms and Principal of McGill University for three terms. He was president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and of the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec. He was the first non-U.S. citizen to be elected chair at Harvard University’s Board of Overseers from which he graduated in 1963 magna cum laude and was twice named all-American in hockey and was named to Harvard’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

David holds degrees from Harvard University, the University of Cambridge and Queen’s University, and has received more than three dozen honorary degrees or fellowships. He has authored or co-authored more than 30 books. He was named Companion of the Order of Canada in 1997. He has chaired or served on many provincial and federal task forces and committees and has served on the boards of more than a dozen public companies.