Leadership

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

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.
A strong believer in community involvement, he devotes his efforts to supporting young entrepreneurs who are developing and applying technology to improve society.

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. D2L is a global software company that believes learning is the foundation upon which all progress and achievement rests.

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 appointed to the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Member (Entrepreneurs’ Circle) of the Business Council of Canada, Business Higher Education Roundtable, 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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Cheryl Ainoa

Chief Operating Officer

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.

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Cheryl Ainoa

Cheryl Ainoa

Chief Operating Officer

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.

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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. He joins us from 8×8, a global telephony and cloud communications leader where he was SVP of Global Sales.

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Puneet Arora

Puneet Arora

Chief Revenue Officer

Puneet is responsible for Global Revenue for D2L. He has over 20 years of sales and go to market experience with early stage, mid stage and very successful SaaS companies. He joins us from 8×8, a global telephony and cloud communications leader where he was SVP of Global Sales. There, he was instrumental in assisting the company to double revenue by helping them move upmarket and expand globally through both direct and indirect channels. Puneet was responsible for sales, presales, sales consulting, channel and direct strategy, demand generation, and global sales operations.

Prior to 8×8, Puneet ran North American Sales for Liveperson, a leader in Enterprise Digital Engagement solutions into Midmarket and Enterprise accounts. Prior to Liveperson, Puneet ran Americas West Cloud CRM Sales for Oracle and before that was Vice President of Corporate Sales at Salesforce.com. Earlier in his career, Puneet saw successful IPO’s with Selectica and pcOrder.com.

Puneet got his Bachelors in Computer Engineering from Iowa State University and his MBA from Babson College. Puneet lives in the Bay Area, CA with his wife and 2 kids.

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Jeremy Auger

Chief Strategy Officer

Jeremy drives company-level strategy within D2L and provides executive leadership of government relations & public affairs, corporate communications, mergers & acquisitions, D2L Labs, IP Strategy, and philanthropy.

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Jeremy Auger

Jeremy Auger

Chief Strategy Officer

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 twenty 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 is an advisor to the Government of Canada on Future Skills, and 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.

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Yvonne Bell

Senior Vice President, People and Culture

Yvonne 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 performance and growth.

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Yvonne Bell

Yvonne Bell

Senior Vice President, People and Culture

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 twenty-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.

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Anna Forgione

General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

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.

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Anna Forgione

Anna Forgione

General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

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.

 
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Elliot Gowans

Senior Vice President, International

Elliot is responsible for D2L's commercial activities outside of North America drawing on his significant experience in the global market. He is passionate about formal and informal education, life-long learning and technology.

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Elliot Gowans

Elliot Gowans

Senior Vice President, International

Elliot Gowans is Senior Vice President, International at D2L and is responsible for D2L’s commercial activities outside of North America. Before he joined 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, most recently as General Manager within Blackbaud’s European division. Elliot holds an MA (Hons) in Philosophy from The University of Glasgow, an MSc in International Finance & 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, life-long learning and technology!
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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.

Read more about Melissa Howatson

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 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.

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David Koehn

Senior Vice President, Product Management

David leads the product management organization and several strategic portfolios at D2L. He commits time to giving back to literary arts, education, literacy, and wellness non-profits — and is committed to innovation through his accelerator, the Batchery.

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David Koehn

David Koehn

Senior Vice President, Product Management

David Koehn is Senior Vice President of Product Management for D2L where he leads the product management organization and several strategic portfolios. David was formerly the Chief Evangelist for Oracle Cloud Architecture. In his early career, he led the corporate learning efforts at AvantGo (Sybase). David also founded the venture-backed edtech start-up Tailwind. He holds an MFA in English from the University of Florida; a BA in Professional Writing from Carnegie Mellon; received an Annenberg Fellowship for the Breadloaf Teacher Network from Middlebury’s Breadloaf School of English; an MEd from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and is pursuing an MBA from Johns Hopkins University. David commits time to giving back to literary arts, education, literacy, and wellness non-profits — and is committed to innovation through his accelerator, the Batchery.
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Adam Moore

Senior Vice President, Strategic Accounts

Adam brings over twenty years of leadership experience to D2L. He is responsible for overseeing both the sales and account management teams at D2L.

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Adam Moore

Adam Moore

Senior Vice President, Strategic Accounts

Adam is responsible for overseeing both the sales and account management teams at D2L. He is focused on expanding D2L’s presence throughout North America in the 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 five hundred 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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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 our 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

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.

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April Oman

Senior Vice President, Customer Experience

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.

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April Oman

April Oman

Senior Vice President, Customer Experience

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.

Board of Directors

John Baker image

John Baker

Board Member

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John Baker

John Baker

Board Member

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

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 appointed to the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Member (Entrepreneurs’ Circle) of the Business Council of Canada, Business Higher Education Roundtable, 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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Tim Connor

Board Member

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Tim Connor

Tim Connor

Board Member

Tim Connor is the Operating Partner of NewView Capital, a venture firm based in Burlingame, California and is a Board Member at Sovrn Holdings, Inc.. Tim has 35 years of experience working with high-growth, technology-driven companies from all sides of the entrepreneurial ecosystem as a venture capital investor, investment banker and operating executive with private and public companies. Before joining NewView, Tim was the Chief Financial Officer of Code42, a global enterprise SaaS provider of endpoint data protection and security to more than 50,000 organizations, including the most recognized brands in business and education. He was also Executive in Residence at New Enterprise Associates (NEA) in Menlo Park and CFO with Datalogix — a big data company that optimized marketing by connecting offline consumer spending with online advertising before being acquired by Oracle in January 2015. Tim holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics from Washington College.
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J. Ian Giffen

Board Member

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J. Ian Giffen

J. Ian Giffen

Board Member

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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Melissa Howatson

Board Member

Read more about Melissa Howatson

Melissa Howatson

Melissa Howatson

Board Member

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 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.

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Brian Kobus

Board Observer

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Brian Kobus

Brian Kobus

Board Observer

In his role as Partner at OMERS Ventures, Brian Kobus is responsible for contributing to the identification and execution of investment opportunities for OMERS Ventures in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) sectors.

Brian brings 15 years of experience in the areas of technology, venture capital and finance to his role at OMERS Ventures. Previously, Brian was VP Technology Alliances at ScribbleLive, a leading content marketing software-as-a-service platform, where he was responsible for establishing, managing and growing relationships with partners.

Prior to joining ScribbleLive, Brian was with Summerhill Venture Partners, a TMT-focused venture capital firm where he worked closely with a number of successful high growth companies. Earlier in his career Brian worked on numerous M&A and financing transactions, first at Morgan Stanley and then at Bell Canada Enterprises.

Brian holds both an MBA and an Honors Business Administration degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, and is also a CFA charter holder.