The Director


Ray DePaul

Ray DePaul was appointed as the inaugural Director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in February 2012. Before joining, Ray was the President and CEO of RapidMind Inc., a spin-off company from the University of Waterloo. Ray steered RapidMind through $11M of venture funding, significant market growth, and turned the company into an industry leader, resulting in the acquisition by Intel Corp. Prior to Rapidmind, Ray spent five years with Research In Motion (now BlackBerry) and was responsible for product management of the iconic BlackBerry. Today, Ray DePaul is a valued member of the Mount Royal and Calgary community as a mentor and advisor to students, founders, startups and businesses.

Ray holds a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo and a Masters in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University, where he was awarded the alumni award for Innovation in 2011. In 2016, Ray was named as one of three finalists for the national BDC Mentorship Award and was the recipient of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year Award in 2017.

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The Institute's Team


Dr. Simon Raby

Associate Director

Dr. Simon Raby is a “pracademic” working as an Assistant Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Mount Royal University Bissett School of Business and co-founder of Business Improvement and Growth (BIG) Associates Ltd. BIG identifies the drivers of growth, challenges convention and offers practical ways for ambitious business owners and their organizations to achieve sustained growth and performance.

Simon’s research program is focused on uncovering the strategies, practices and methods of support that enable business growth, leadership transitions and people’s performance. Most recently, Simon delivered a program of research on the growth of Alberta’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to understand the drivers of growth, innovation and diversification for these firms. This research has since led to the creation of The Leader’s Growth Mindset.

Simon is a trustee and board member for the Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, a large, well-established network that enables excellence in small business and entrepreneurship, and builds bridges between research, policy and practice. Simon serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research.


Dr. David J. Finch

Associate Director

Dr. David J. Finch’s professional background reflects a commitment to the convergence of theory and practice. David holds a Ph.D. in management and is an active educator, scholar and practitioner. David currently holds several academic appointments including Associate Professor at Mount Royal University Bissett School of Business in Calgary, Alberta, a Visiting Professor at Ohio University and Visiting Fellow at the Henley Business School at the University of Reading in the U.K.

Prior to joining academia over two decades ago, David held progressively senior roles in areas of corporate strategy in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. with Bell Canada Enterprises, Rogers Communications and Harris Corporation. In addition, David was a founding partner at T1 Agency, Canada’s largest sports and sponsorship marketing agency supporting brands such as Esso, Nike, Hudson’s Bay, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, BC Ferries, the Calgary Stampede and Yellow Pages.


Jenn MacDonald

Entrepreneur Development Manager - On Leave

Jenn MacDonald joined the Institute in 2014 after graduating from the Mount Royal Innovation and Entrepreneurship program. Jenn has been instrumental in building a community of students from across campus looking to step outside their comfort zone, to learn through experience, and to validate, launch and grow their idea. Jenn is responsible for all of the extracurricular programs for Mount Royal students. She’s passionate about spreading the mindset across campus to help revitalize and re-imagine Calgary’s job market.

Jenn holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree with minors in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Marketing from Mount Royal University and is pursuing a Masters degree in Economic Development and Innovation at the University of Waterloo.


Emily Knight

Entrepreneur Development Manager - Interim

Emily is a Mount Royal University Alumni who joined the Institute’s team in 2017 during her final year of study. As a student at MRU, she focused her studies and extra-curricular involvement on Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Today, she plays an integral role in fostering community and opportunities for innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers from across campus. Emily believes that entrepreneurship is a unique opportunity to explore curiosity and play, unlocking the bold child within each of us and ultimately leading to the words most impactful innovations. She is energized by the opportunity to help students develop their entrepreneurial mindset, leading them to exciting careers, new venture ideas and roles as changemakers in their communities.

Emily holds a Bachelors of Business Administration Degree with minors in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

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Tracy Pfeifer 

Administrative Assistant

Tracy has dedicated over 17 years to Mount Royal University. She provides administrative support to both the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Institute for Community Prosperity. Tracy plays a critical role of being the interface between the Institute’s team of impatient entrepreneurs and the university’s many policies and procedures.


Kelsey Prout

Program Coordinator

Kelsey is a Mount Royal Alumni and a 2017 LaunchPad Alumni. Kelsey joins the Institute's team with a wealth of knowledge gained from her experience starting her business Good + Wild, an online retail store curating sustainable and ethical apparel, as a Mount Royal student. Kelsey will be launching new Institute programs using the same entrepreneurial mindset she uses everyday in her business.

Kelsey holds a Bachelors of Business Administration Degree with minors in Social Innovation, Business and Society, and Entrepreneurship.


Ormhel Manuel

Entrepreneur In Residence

Ormhel is the Co-Founder of Carberri, a startup providing private party auto financing for car buyers looking to purchase their dream car somewhere other than an auto dealership. Ormhel began working on Carberri while completing his business degree at Mount Royal. Ormhel is an expert in the validation of your idea, pivoting your offering to meet product-market-fit, and fund development by way of pitch competitions.

Ormhel holds a Bachelors of Business Administration Degree with a minor in Finance.

Ormhel is available for office hours in the Slate Innovation Lab (EB3121) to discuss new venture ideas, next steps and more. Office hours Mon & Thurs 9:00am - 4:00pm.

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Wendelin Fraser 

Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation | Bissett School of Business 

Laurie Lancaster 

Associate Professor, Innovation and Entrepreneurship | Bissett School of Business 

Simon Raby  

Associate Professor, Innovation and Entrepreneurship | Bissett School of Business

Douglas MacDonald 

Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Social Innovation |  Bissett School of Business