It all started with a spark.
Our organization began in 1967 promoting curiosity, innovation and collaboration, and encouraging children and youth to pursue higher education and careers in science and technology.
In 2011, we opened the doors to our reimagined science centre - a place that's, in fact, much more than a science centre. Our space is a place to explore and get your hands on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM).
Our visual identity is an important component of our brand. Details on the use of the TELUS Spark logo and other assets can be found in our brand toolkit.
We are a role model and force for innovation that drives positive change.
A community transformed by a culture of curiosity, risk-taking and problem solving.
Collaboration: We believe that encouraging debate and dialogue, embracing diverse perspectives, and that partnership with our communities results in better ideas and outcomes.
Curiosity: We are always wondering, always questioning, always seeking to learn.
Courage: We believe in innovative thinking and taking risks. We embrace change. Our courage to fail gives us the confidence to succeed.
Commitment: We're deeply passionate about our mission and pursue it in everything we do...and in how we do it.
SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM:
- Jennifer Martin - President & CEO
Jennifer Martin is the President and CEO of TELUS Spark, and it was her overall vision that guided completion of the first new purpose-built science centre in Canada in over 25 years when it opened in October 2011. This vision of a next-generation science centre – its new role of active engagement in and with the community - was honed over more than 25 years of experience, starting with Science North in Sudbury, Canada. As a young biologist Ms Martin began her career developing the Nature Exchange concept and leading a team to recover a fin whale skeleton, still permanently on display at Science North.
Jennifer came to Calgary in 2007, well prepared for the challenge of repurposing what a science centre could be. In 1986 she joined the Ontario Science Centre (OSC) as an exhibit and program developer, rising through key positions in project management and leadership. In 1998, as the Director of Visitor Experience at the OSC, Jennifer oversaw all facets of the development, design and delivery of the Centre’s exhibit and public program services, and in 2001 led a $47.5M capital campaign. The resulting Weston Family Innovation Centre, a 12,000 square foot renewal program, has led to significant change in visitor engagement at the OSC.
At 153,000 square feet, the $147 million TELUS Spark is connected locally, nationally and internationally on issues of STEAM and innovation. It’s focus on play and learning as they lead to innovation is backed by new research, and a key component of a new 87,000 sf outdoor exhibition called Brainasium, featuring a 15m climbing tower with a 20 m slide, the first phase of a 6 acre outdoor development at Spark.
Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Biology) from Laurentian University (Sudbury, Ontario) and a Master of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business (Toronto, Ontario). She is also a 2009 Noyce Leadership Fellow, a Director on the Board of Beakerhead and a Director on the Board of the international Association of Science and Technology Centres (ASTC)
- Barry Crean - Chief Operating Officer
Chief Operating Officer of TELUS Spark, Barry Crean oversees the operational excellence and long-term sustainability of all facets of the LEED Gold building. He is an introspective and highly organized professional with a passion for taking the disparate moving parts of an organization and syncing them up. The result is teamwork, shared passion and, ultimately, success.
A native of Ancaster Ontario, Barry came to Calgary with a diverse exhibit development background that includes senior positions with science centres in North America, Asia and Europe.
Barry served as the Associate Director of Exhibit Systems with the Ontario Science Centre, capping his time there with involvement in the $40 million Agents of Change project.
As a Project Management consultant, Barry worked with an Australian firm to introduce its advanced multi-media streaming system to North America. He provided project management services to a first-of-its-kind science centre in Saudi Arabia, oversaw exhibit development at the National Museum of the Philippines, and served as a coordinator to designers and clients developing the Thematic Area for EXPO2000 in Hanover, Germany.
Barry has also served as technical manager for the Singapore Discovery Centre. Closer to home, he was on the ground floor of development for the Shania Twain Centre in Timmins Ontario.
During years of cutting-edge exhibit development, Barry has developed a keen understanding of interactivity and engagement that is the basis of TELUS Spark’s mandate today.
- Katherine Ziff - Vice President, Content
Katherine Ziff is a curious and reflective senior leader, always on the lookout for new ideas and approaches — particularly to use in motivating people to be more daring, creative and ingenious, whether they are visitors or on her teams.
As Vice President, Content, Katherine leads the teams developing and facilitating exhibitions and programs at TELUS Spark. She has served in many facets of TELUS Spark over the last seven years, including stints as an exhibit developer, public programs manager, and director of exhibits and programs.
She has an MA in Museum Studies, and has developed and led exhibits and programs at children’s museums and science centers across the United States before moving to Calgary. In 2013 she was given the Canadian Association of Science Centres Cascade Award for Outstanding Project or Program leadership.
- Alison Pidskalny - Vice President, External Affairs
Alison Pidskalny has proven herself to be a trusted strategist, connector and community builder with 20 years experience in the corporate, non-profit and consulting sectors. Her career has taken her to fast-paced environments where curiosity is embraced and managed risks are encouraged, making her a natural fit as VP, External Affairs for TELUS Spark.
Since joining TELUS Spark in June 2011, Alison’s role has grown from a singular portfolio to multiple portfolios and accountabilities including Marketing, Communications, Business Development, Fundraising, Government Relations and Volunteer Services. In that time, Alison has provided leadership to teams of professionals who build the brand, financial and volunteer resources to support the long-term sustainability of TELUS Spark. Her portfolio is focused on strategies to expand reach, build sustained engagement across stakeholders, and align key influencers to our Vision and Mission.
Alison’s experience includes six years with the Centre for Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST) as Director, Public Engagement, Resource Development and Business Services. Alison brought ideas and innovative approaches to functions that included strategy development, planning and budgeting for three departments, which collectively accounted for one-third of CAWST’s operations budget, generating revenue needed for operations in 66 countries.
She has also been very successful as Marketing and Communications professional with a commitment to helping Calgary meet aspirations for innovation, creativity and sustainability. Her skill set has enabled her to offer valuable support to organizations starting up or undergoing revitalizing change, including developing new approaches to branding and stakeholder engagement.
Alison is born, raised, and built her career in Calgary and has a degree in Arts, Communication from the University of Calgary.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
- Brent Allison - Chair
When Brent is not busy leading a dynamic team at TELUS focused on seizing Western Canadian business opportunities and bringing innovative third wave solutions to all Canadians, he lends his time as Chair of TELUS Spark’s Board of Directors. His passion for technology is evident, particularly when it comes to how innovation can help improve productivity, support sustainability and connect people in new and exciting ways.
Each and every day, Brent is exposed to technologies and people that are reinventing the way business is done globally. It should come as no surprise that he envisions Calgary as a future hotbed for innovation. That’s why he is committed to ensuring the youth of today are educated and inspired to build a thriving digital economy for tomorrow. By providing opportunities for young Albertans to embrace the possibilities that a career in technology can offer, Brent hopes TELUS Spark will empower our next generation to reach their potential and become the leaders of tomorrow.
- Sheila Leggett - Vice Chair
Sheila has a broad variety of experience serving on Boards throughout her career making her ideally suited to join the TELUS Spark Board of Directors. She enjoys working with her Board colleagues on continuous improvements in the area of governance practices and thinks it’s important for all of us to consider ways in which we can expand our individual service to the community.
Sheila believes strongly in the purpose and potential of TELUS Spark and sees science centres as a place for inspired learning and fun for people of all ages. She recognizes the value in having a place where members of communities, individuals, families and groups can come together and explore, share and communicate all while having fun. She sees TELUS Spark as an important social gathering spot where experiencing things together leads to stronger communities.
Sheila’s aspiration for Calgary is to be the collective best we can be, by working together to build a city that promotes and celebrates cohesiveness locally, provincially and nationally. She believes that TELUS Spark is an inspiration to the Calgary community and beyond to discover and be excited about the intersections of science, technology, engineering, art and math.
- Brad Grundy - Treasurer
As a former TELUS Spark employee, Brad has a strong connection to the science centre. Now in public education, his return to our Board of Directors brings with him valuable financial, leadership and strategy experience.
Brad believes learning is fundamental to the success of our society and an important part of our future. His aspiration for Calgary is to realize a livable and sustainable future. He recognizes that this will require increased innovation and risk taking and that TELUS Spark has an important role to play in building that culture in Calgary.
- Tracey Bodnarchuk
As a career marketing and business development professional, Tracey is skilled at understanding her audience and their needs. She believes it is important for children to be given the chance to learn how things are conceptualized and made, and for them to have the opportunity to test ideas in a “hands on” environment so they can discover for themselves that science is intrinsically tied to new ideas and innovation. She loves how TELUS Spark helps both young people and adults be creative and have fun while they are learning.
Tracey’s work with the Board of Directors is preceded by her support for the capital campaign which made it possible for construction of the building which houses Calgary’s science centre.
Tracey is inspired by the vibrancy of our city and our resource based economy and believes the science of the energy sector, the youthfulness of our citizens and the western spirit of entrepreneurialism, make Calgary ideally suited to house a world-class science centre which reflects these three things.
Tracey believes TELUS Spark is poised for continued growth and will expand its reach to include more students, families and businesses in the years to come. She is confident that, with the spirit of collaboration, TELUS Spark will continue to be a venue where discussion and actions related to key issues such as climate change, environmental performance and sustainable energy systems can take place.
- Alex Bolton
Alex has spent most of his career working at the intersection of science and policy. Since joining the Board in 2015, he has made it a priority to highlight the importance of increasing the social relevance of TELUS Spark.
He brings 30 years of diverse technical and management experience within the energy and government sectors. His broad exposure to issues related to the application of science and its use in policy and regulation as well as the management of knowledge and technology innovation make him ideally suited to his role.
Alex recognizes that science and innovation will be critical to solving some of society’s most significant challenges and that TELUS Spark has an important role to play in inspiring the next generation of scientists and innovators who will make valuable contributions to a more sustainable future.
He sees the need for a platform for broader public dialogue surrounding climate change, sustainable energy systems and the impact of evolving technology on our way of life. He believes science centres have a unique opportunity to be a source of credible and unbiased scientific information and a place for engagement and respectful discussion of issues.
- Kirstie Boyle
A leader within the technology and entrepreneurship community, Kirstie brings a different perspective to the Board. Her experiences helping grow innovative organizations align well with TELUS Spark’s vision of a community transformed by a culture of curiosity, risk-taking and problem solving. Having experienced the challenges and successes of supporting and growing for-profit and non-profit organizations and initiatives, Kirstie looks forward to applying these learnings to help support TELUS Spark’s goals.
Kirstie’s career path into science and technology was significantly impacted by her regular visits to local science centres while growing up. She recognizes that being encouraged in science through exploration and play helps foster an innovative mentality, and believes that TELUS Spark is inspiring an innovative mindset in future generations. As a member of the Board of Directors, Kirstie looks forward to helping TELUS Spark continue to drive positive change in the community through innovation.
- Arun Gupta
Having grown up in India, Arun Gupta recognizes that focusing on scientific curiosity is an important part of a child’s education. Although he does not have a scientific background, Arun has always been passionate about technology and has taught himself how to build computers and lapops as a way to satisfy his inner curious child. He believes that science centres unlock the ability of children to experiment and think beyond the classroom and that these facilities ignite a “spark” within children that could one day inspire a passion for engineering, science, or astronomy.
Arun sees his role on the Board as an opportunity to make a small contribution to science within our society, and to support Calgary in being a world class example of tolerance, diversity, leadership, inspiration and scientific advancement. He believes that TELUS Spark can drive scientific curiosity within the community and help bring the brightest minds in Calgary together towards a common cause.
- Graeme Harrison
- Sean McLean
As managing partner of a global leadership advisory firm and with a background as an educational leader, Sean brings valuable private and public sector expertise. This provides him with the skill to recognize that the continuous growth and development of TELUS Spark’s Learning Centre is as important as maintaining a fiscally responsible and sustainable business model.
In an increasingly dynamic and connected world, Sean believes it is critical to develop curiosity, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and problem solving capacity in children and youth. TELUS Spark’s vision, mission, values, history and, most importantly, the ability to make broad and positive impacts, both locally and globally, aligned perfectly with those beliefs.
A third generation Calgarian with three children, Sean wants children born in Calgary to have virtually endless opportunities to achieve their full potential. He sees TELUS Spark as a role model for future generations and a force for innovation that drives positive change.
- Lorraine Moore
Lorraine brings more than 25 years of fundraising, finance and energy experience to the Board of Directors. Her work with executive teams across North America has helped shape her vision for Calgary as a vibrant, active and strong community. She sees TELUS Spark as a gathering place in the community; a place where people and enthusiasm for careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) related fields can be showcased.
Lorraine believes that many professionals already working in STEAM related careers hold fond memories of their visits to science centres in their younger years. She sees Calgary as the perfect destination for Canadians and other tourists to experience inquiry-based learning at TELUS Spark and receive their own inspiration.
- Theresa Redburn
Theresa’s studies in engineering have provided her with a solid background in math and science. Currently working in a corporate executive position, and having held a number of volunteer board positions, she is well suited for her role as a TELUS Spark Board member.
Theresa believes science, technology and innovation are key to Canada’s future growth and prosperity as they will deliver competitive advantages to Canada in the global marketplace.
She sees TELUS Spark as a place which fosters the development of the leaders of tomorrow through innovative learning programs. She believes the science centre provides a platform for conversations that matter and a space which inspires minds to think about the possibilities of tomorrow.
- Duane Schellenberg
- Kelly Schmitt
Having spent 10 years working in the technology industry, Kelly Schmitt is passionate about expanding the Calgary economy and seeing other industries flourish, in addition to oil and gas. She believes that Calgary is a great city –with one of the highest qualities of living of all the large Canadian cities – but she wants to see it get even better. As a member of the Board, Kelly hopes to aid in diversifying the economy to help Calgary reach its full potential. Watching her young son learn and explore has helped Kelly recognize the importance of science centres in our community. She believes that TELUS Spark’s focus on science and technology make it a great place to facilitiate learning and that it will help inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs in Calgary.
- Rodrigo Sousa
Rod was inspired to join the Board of Directors when he saw firsthand the value of the interaction his own kids had with the exhibits and programming offered at TELUS Spark. His desire to contribute to the betterment of the City of Calgary and its cultural institutions was a key driver in getting involved.
Rod’s awareness of the decline in children choosing STEAM related fields for their post-secondary education alarmed him, given his belief that innovation will be a key determinant in sustaining a prosperous future for Calgary. Recognizing that schools often lack the necessary infrastructure to demonstrate that science can be fun, playful and synonymous with creativity, curiosity and risk-taking, he knew that he needed to get involved to help raise the awareness that science centres can be a place for this type of inquiry-based learning.
- Dennis Sumara
It was TELUS Spark’s vision for community-based learning that inspired Dennis to join the Board of Directors. His background as an academic leader and post-secondary educator make him an asset to the strategic planning process and execution of the TELUS Spark vision and mandate.
Dennis recognizes the role of science centres as community-based places of learning, having seen first-hand how these facilities inspire visitors to understand and appreciate the influence of science on our lives. He believes that TELUS Spark is an example of how Calgarians are willing to challenge the status quo with new and dynamic spaces, ideas and ways of thinking.
Dennis’ aspiration is for the city to be known internationally for innovative thinking and to become bolder in its quest to be one of the world’s most enterprising and groundbreaking cities. He is confident that TELUS Spark can lead the way in demonstrating how science centres inspire and influence citizens to participate in using and making knowledge.
TELUS Spark’s Sustainability Partner is Devon Canada Corporation
TELUS Spark is a LEED® Gold Certified facility. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a sustainability rating system that is recognized as the international mark of excellence for green building.