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Introducing auticon Canada’s Advisory Board

Guest writer: Dominique Ferst, Ferst Capital Partners

Last week was memorable for both auticon and me personally. Not only did we announce a funding round led by my firm Ferst Capital Partners, I also had the privilege of leading auticon Canada’s first Advisory Board meeting as Chair.

I am thus thrilled to introduce our Advisory Board, a collection of leaders representing the Canadian business, clinical, and autism communities:

Ken Fredeen is General Counsel and a member of the Leadership Team with Deloitte LLP, with responsibility for creating an inclusive professional services firm for people with disabilities.

Andreas Souvaliotis is a globally recognized social innovator and prominent Canadian autistic entrepreneur, who is an unconventional and outspoken promoter of large-scale social change. Andrease leads the diversity and inclusion strategy of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) for Canada and proudly serves on numerous Boards of leading impact-centric organizations.

Mark Wafer is a disability rights activist and internationally recognized expert on the economics of inclusion. He is an advisor to governments around the world and is responsible for Canada’s national disability employment strategy.

Dr Isabelle Hénault, is the Director of the Autism & Asperger’s Clinic in Montreal. She is a sexologist and psychologist from the University of Québec in Montréal, Canada. Her practice and studies have focused on providing diagnosis, education and support to children, adolescents, adults and couples living with autism.

And finally, I am Dominique Ferst, Managing Partner with Ferst Capital Partners, Canada’s leading early​ stage FinTech focused Venture Capital firm. I am an entrepreneur, business operator and investor who has founded, operated and exited companies which have pioneered significant innovations in the Canadian Internet and financial services industries over the last 20 years.

Research has proven time and again that diverse hiring practices (including neurodiversity) result in increased productivity and competitive advantage. People on the autism spectrum have unique gifts, yet they continue to be undervalued and underemployed. We, as a group, believe that organizations who recognize those gifts, and harness them, will realize tremendous business benefit.

This Advisory Board is committed to helping the auticon team expand throughout Canada by leveraging our combined experiences to provide strategic counsel and execution support to build the business and educate the market on the importance of auticon’s work and the autism advantage for business.

I look forward to working with this fantastic group of leaders and innovators to create sustainable careers for our highly skilled colleagues on the autism spectrum and enable truly inclusive workplaces across Canada.