John Baker

John Baker

President and CEO

John Baker John founded D2L in 1999, at the age of twenty-two, while attending the University of Waterloo as a Systems Design Engineering student.

He saw that online digital tools could open the door to entirely new and more effective models, and create learning experiences that are more personal, engaging and inspiring. The company is on the journey of transforming the way the world learns.

A strong believer in community involvement, John devotes both his personal and business efforts to supporting young entrepreneurs who are developing and applying technology to improve society worldwide.

He was recognized in 2013 as an EY Entrepreneur of the Year within Ontario, received the Young Alumni Achievement Medal from the University of Waterloo, and inducted into the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame as an Intrepid Entrepreneur.

He was appointed to the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, is Chair of the Board of Communitech, and is a board member of Canada’s National Ballet School and other organizations.

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.

Cheryl Ainoa

Cheryl Ainoa

Chief Operating Officer

Cheryl Ainoa As COO for D2L, Cheryl is responsible for delivering solutions that so profoundly amplify the impact of educators that people can’t imagine learning any other way. She directly oversees the functions of product management, development, delivery and support for all Brightspace solutions.

An accomplished technology executive, Cheryl has built innovative, high performing teams that have successfully delivered many of the web’s most popular and award-winning consumer experiences. Prior to joining D2L, Cheryl was SVP of Product Development at Intuit, a leader in personal and small business financial software. There, she led the transformation of Intuit’s product strategy to mobile-first, SaaS-based solutions. Before Intuit, Cheryl led product development for Yahoo’s market-leading media sites, including the Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo! News. As Yahoo’s SVP of Global Service Engineering, Cheryl was responsible for the reliability and scalability of all of Yahoo’s sites worldwide. Previous to joining Yahoo!, Cheryl was the VP of Product Development at A&E Television Networks/Genealogy.com, where she oversaw the development of Geneaology.com into an award-winning, profitable online subscription business.

Cheryl has been a recipient of the YMCA Tribute to Women and Industry (TWIN) Award, which recognizes women who have excelled in their fields and made significant contributions to industry in executive, managerial and professional roles. Cheryl was also a recipient of the 2013 Intuit CEO Leadership Award.

Cheryl holds an MBA from the Santa Clara University – Leavey School of Business and a BSEE, Electrical Engineering from Washington State University. She is also a member of the Industry Advisory Board for the College of Engineering at San Jose State University.

Jeremy Auger

Jeremy Auger

Chief Strategy Officer

Jeremy Auger Jeremy drives company-level strategy within D2L, and provides executive leadership of mergers & acquisitions, government relations & public affairs, corporate communications, Labs, 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. Over the last 17+ years has served as the COO, CTO, and continues to take a leadership role in driving the organization’s success as Chief Strategy Officer.

Jeremy participates in a number of boards, including serving as Chair of the Economic Development Advisory Board for the City of Kitchener (Canada), a board member for the IMS Global Learning Consortium, a national board member for ITAC – Canada’s IT association, and a number of other for-profit and not-for-profit boards.

Jeremy has an Honours B.Math in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, and a Master of Science in Management from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Yvonne Bell

Yvonne Bell

Senior Vice President, People and Culture

Yvonne Bell Yvonne is responsible for D2L’s people. Specifically, she directs all of D2L’s human resource functions including recruitment, retention, leadership development and career coaching. She also aligns D2L’s HR strategy with our business strategies to drive our company’s organizational performance and growth.

In a 20-year career, Yvonne has led and implemented large scale change initiatives, Global projects and programs for Leadership Development, Mergers & Acquisitions, Corporate HR Programs, Policies, Processes, and worked collaboratively across countries and functions. Before coming to D2L, Yvonne worked at OpenText, where she was involved in more than 35 acquisitions, led or contributed to HR teams, successfully worked to assimilate acquisitions into company standards and practices, and merged organizations for focus and efficiency and the engagement and integration of cultures and leaders and employees. Yvonne has also held successive positions of responsibility at KPMG Canada.

In addition to her leadership at D2L and developing a sterling reputation in the HR community, Yvonne is passionate about fitness and healthy living. She holds a degree in Social Work and Psychology from the University of Waterloo and a Master’s in leadership development from the University of Western Ontario.

Anna Forgione

Anna Forgione

General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

Anna Forgione Anna joined D2L’s legal team in 2013. Anna brings twenty years of experience in corporate leadership, technology advocacy, business development, negotiations, and strategic planning. She oversees all legal and regulatory matters for D2L worldwide. Her responsibilities include directing company transactional, intellectual property, litigation, acquisitions, and compliance matters.

Prior to 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 Telephony@Work. Anna is an engaged community leader and holds various directorships for non-profit organizations, The Canadian Children’s Opera Company and Bannockburn Montessori School.

Anna holds a J.D. Degree from Osgoode Hall and has been a Member of the Bar in the province of Ontario since 1994.

Melissa Howatson

Melissa Howatson

Chief Financial Officer

Melissa Howatson Melissa has over 20 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 from KPMG. As well, Melissa is an active community volunteer, having been involved with Junior Achievement, Women’s Crisis Services, Communitech Finance P2P Co-Champion and as the President, Treasurer, and Board Member for Family and Children’s Services Foundation.

Nick Oddson

Nick Oddson

Chief Technology Officer

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

During his previous fifteen-year tenure at another Waterloo-based software company, Nick supervised an engineering organization of more than one thousand employees distributed globally across forty offices. He worked extensively with customers and sales support teams around architecture, SaaS enablement, technical analysis of systems integrations, and optimization of deployments and implementations. Beginning in 2005, he took responsibility for the organization’s enterprise products. This included overseeing technical design and architecture evolution, overall product strategy, and further expanding the product portfolio with complimentary offerings.

In addition to supporting local startups as part of Communitech’s Hyperdrive incubator, Nick has also mentored young entrepreneurs through the University of Waterloo’s VeloCity program. He was a 2013 recipient of the Region of Waterloo’s Top 40 Under 40 Award in recognition of his contributions to the local arts and technology communities.

Nick studied Computer Science and Physics at the University of Waterloo.

April Oman

April Oman

Vice President, Customer Experience

April Oman April is responsible for D2L’s end-to-end customer experience, from the moment their initial onboarding begins throughout their entire journey of launching, optimizing, and expanding their adoption of the Brightspace platform and relationship with D2L.

With a passion for enabling customers and helping them achieve their goals, April guides how D2L uses their feedback to drive change and how the company works internally to serve their needs. She oversees several globally distributed teams that are jointly responsible for ensuring the quality and seamlessness of the customer experience. Her group includes D2L’s client services and consulting, training, global support, technical account management, customer success management, community, and documentation teams.

April’s extensive background in customer engagement and experience extends well before the time she joined D2L. Previously, she held leadership positions in the areas of client success and technology program management with Zuora, Salesforce, and Cornerstone OnDemand.

Known as a customer success leader, April is also a frequent speaker at industry conferences and an advisor to start-up companies and customer success professionals around the world. She holds an M.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from San Jose State University. Prior to that, she attained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Fresno State.

Tracy Strauss

Tracy Strauss

Senior Vice President, Marketing

Tracy Strauss Tracy is responsible for the overall brand and marketing for D2L and brings over 20 years of marketing experience in Enterprise B2B technology. She is a passionate marketing executive and team leader, focused on helping companies achieve significant revenue growth.

Her background with learning and cloud-based technology enables Tracy to provide unique insights into the education technology industry. By building, coaching and growing strong teams in both marketing and sales, she is helping to grow the D2L brand and community voice by focusing on the story behind the analytics. Although data-driven and results-oriented, she positions the client story at the heart of the D2L brand story in order to create meaningful connections and communications for every stakeholder.

Tracy has both marketing agency and client experience. Her previous positions include working with organizations like Cornerstone OnDemand, and Sage. There, she developed her marketing experience that includes strategic planning, demand generation, online marketing, data analysis, marketing automation and content creation. Through her ability to inspire, mentor, and coach teams, she has consistently added value and quantifiable results through her leadership ability.

Tracy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies from Sonoma State University and is an avid paddle-boarder, when not watching her kids on the soccer field.