Board of Directors

Mel Duquette Co-President

MelanieDuquette Melanie Duquette With over 10 years experience in biotech, Melanie is currently the International Marketing Manager for Invitae, a genetic testing company based out of San Francisco CA. Additionally, Melanie sits on the advisory board of Eve Medical, a Toronto based start-up focused on women’s health. Previously, Melanie was instrumental in the early stage growth of DNA Genotek as they defined a new market for non-invasive sample collection. She developed markets in North America and around the world as Senior Manager, International Sales for APAC, EMEA and LATAM. She also had global market development responsibility for HLA registries. Outside of work, she has volunteered her time and leadership skills to the organizing and running of Ottawa Fashion Week, raising money for charities including UNICEF and the Ottawa Cancer Foundation. Melanie has an Honours Degree in Biopharmaceutical Sciences, and mentors and teaches others throughout her career. As a member of the board, she hopes to continue to offer guidance to young women who also choose to apply their science background and skills to solve important business problems in life sciences leading to better health outcomes worldwide.

Shannon O’Higgins – Co-President

shannon Shannon O’Higgins is a Sales Account Manager at DNA Genotek, where she is responsible for customer accounts in Europe. Prior to joining the DNA Genotek sales team, she worked in the lab for their Research & Development group. Shannon has also worked as a summer student in a molecular biology laboratory at PharmaGap. Shannon holds an MSc. in Biotechnology and Business from the University College Dublin in Ireland, and an Honours Degree in Biology from Queen’s University. Connect with Shannon on LinkedIn.

Maureen O’Higgins, Chief Financial Officer

MaureenOHiggins Maureen O’Higgins is a senior consultant specializing in broadband deployment strategy. She believes that connectivity is essential for economic and social wellbeing, even in hard-to-reach places.
After, completing a Master of Business Administration at The Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Maureen moved on to a career in Business Development and Marketing at Nortel, then to consulting on broadband deployment for communities across Ontario.
Maureen is an avid skier (on snow and water) and runner. She lives in Ottawa with her husband Brian and three daughters.

Jennifer Francis, Secretary

Jennifer Jennifer Francis is the Principal of Cafe Noir Consulting, with over 25 years of experience in the high technology industry working in a variety of areas including software development, marketing, product management, business development and executive management. Prior to consulting, Jennifer was the Vice President of the Financial Analytics business at IBM, and held a variety of executive positions at Cognos. Jennifer works closely with the Ottawa startup eco-system as Chair of Capital Angel Network, mentor and advisor at L-Spark and Lead to Win. She is also the Regional Ambassador for Technovation, a program to inspire girls to pursue Technology careers. Jennifer holds a BMath from the University of Waterloo. Connect with Jennifer on LinkedIn.