Our Founding Story

Impact Hub Ottawa is the story of six youth leaders (and countless amazing people) taking action around an ambition to create a cohesive community of change agents and the infrastructure so everybody can pursue their passions in creating social change. None of the six founders grew up in Ottawa. In fact, four of the six were not even born in Canada. They moved to Ottawa to study, work, and stay with family.

After staying here a short while and feeling rather frustrated that Ottawa did not have a home for collaboration among changemakers and the infrastructure dedicated to social innovation, they found each other through social and professional circles, and decided to build a new type of community asset for Ottawa’s future. The founders had all experienced Impact Hubs around the world and were intrigued by the model and grassroots approach. They decided not to reinvent the wheel and bring a proven model to Ottawa to catapult the city onto the global stage of social innovation.

The journey began in 2011 with weekly community meetups across a number of neighbourhoods in the city. They used the meetups to build grassroots interest, engagement, and critical mass. Impact Hubs don’t come about because of founders alone; the community plays a huge role. It's true in this case. Not a day went by during the founding journey where someone didn’t lend a hand, listen, volunteer, champion the idea or make an introduction. The community planned meetups, events, conduct surveys, and as soon as a space was secured, hosted a 48-hour interior design charrette.

With the community’s support they put together a brilliant Board of Directors with Tracey Clark, CEO of Bridgehead as Chair and secured initial founding impact investors. The momentum led to the official launch in November 2012.

Our founding is built on community co-creation and grassroots involvement. Creating with community is in our DNA. We cherish our values and our founding history, as we look to the future.

Our Founding Team

Kasia Polanska

Kasia Polanska is a management consultant specializing in organizational development. Enthusiastic about creative and systema…

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Ivy So

Ivy is currently Advisor for Strategic Initiatives in the Executive Office of Nonprofit Finance Fund, an impact investing org…

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Kristina Medow

Kristina loves helping others turn their ideas into reality. She has been a business consultant her entire career working wit…

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Jane Porter

Jane is a Consultant at Stratos who helps public and private sector clients improve their sustainability performance by provi…

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Jason Pearman

Jason likes to try new things. He field tested landmine removal technology in Bosnia, chaired a municipal advisory committee …

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Vinod Rajasekaran

Vinod is the HUB’s resident rocket scientist. After studying aerospace engineering at Carleton University, Vinod went on to…

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