Jennifer Flanagan

Co-founder, President & CEO

For more than 25 years, Jennifer Flanagan has been a leader and an extraordinary force in changing the face of science, engineering, and technology in Canada. She is one of Canada’s leading experts in technology equity, STEM education and diversity and inclusion

As the Co-founder, President and CEO of Actua, she has redefined the future of STEM education and the science and technology workforce by empowering hundreds of thousands of young minds across Canada to reach their full potential. 

Her unparalleled understanding of emerging and in-demand technology, coupled with her success as an entrepreneur and bold business leader, has paved the way for an ever-growing national organization that prepares youth for the new economy while tearing down systemic barriers for those historically excluded from STEM. At the helm of Actua, Jennifer has raised tens of millions of dollars to build and support a national network encompassing over 40 universities and colleges, engaging a remarkable 375,000 youth annually; the majority being girls and young women, Indigenous youth, Black youth, those from rural and Arctic communities, and others facing socio-economic challenges. Her national thought leadership work and media presence have brought awareness and raised the consciousness of why equity in STEM matters. 

In addition to her system-changing work at Actua, she volunteers on many local, national and international boards and also advises start-up organizations, all focused on gender equity, innovation and the future of education.  


Jennifer has been named Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women on three separate occasions, is the esteemed recipient of the Y Women of Distinction Award in the Education and Training category, has been named one of Canada’s Top Forty Under 40 by the City of Ottawa, and was bestowed the prestigious RBC Women Entrepreneur of the Year award in the social change category. In 2023, Jennifer received the Bold Woman Award by Veuve Clicquot and in 2024 she was named one of the Top 25 Women of Influence. She holds a BSc from the University of New Brunswick (where she now sits on the Board of Governors) and an MBA from McGill University. Recently, her outstanding contributions as an entrepreneur and champion for women in engineering and science were acknowledged with an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Concordia University.

Speaking Topics

Jennifer is frequently called upon to speak to Actua’s vast program experience and policy expertise through conference presentations, media interviews, community events and social media. Her speaking topics include:

  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in STEM: How and why we must advance equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM education and careers.
  • Engaging underrepresentedyouth in STEM: Best practices and evidence-based approaches to engaging underrepresented youth in STEM, including girls and young women, Indigenous youth and youth from northern and remote communities.
  • Future Skills: The skills youth need to thrive tomorrow and approaches to equipping youth with these skills.
  • Cyber Safety & Digital Citizenship: How and why we must empower youth with the skills and confidence needed to critically assess online interactions, avert online threats and use technology in innovative, healthy and safe ways.
  • Digital Equity: What is Digital Equity, what do we need to achieve it, and why is it essential to social and economic prosperity?
  • Tips for Parents & Educations: General tips for how parents and educators can help youth build STEM skills and confidence at home and in the classroom.

Interested in having Jennifer speak at your event?

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