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Joanne Thomsen - MaRS Discovery District. Toronto, ON, CA

Joanne Thomsen

VP, Talent | MaRS Discovery District

Toronto, ON, CANADA

The MaRS Chiropractor: Gifted in aligning people strategy with business strategy while charming the organization with a can-do attitude!





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Joanne manages the human resources program at MaRS Innovation and MaRS Discovery District and has more than 20 years of public- and private-sector experience in human resource management.

Most recently, Joanne was VP, Human Resources with Empirical, an online and traditional marketing services company. Prior to Empirical, Joanne was with the Bank of Montreal as Senior Human Resource Business Partner and Consultant, aligning people strategy to the business strategy across different lines of businesses and shared services groups. Joanne also spent several years at the Toronto District School Board in a variety of HR roles.

Joanne has a B.A. from Trent University, is a Certified Human Resource Professional and is a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute’s co-active training and leadership program.

Industry Expertise (2)

Talent Management

Human Resources

Areas of Expertise (4)

Human Resources Best Practices

Human Resource Management

Organizational Change

Employee Development and Leadership

Accomplishments (3)

VP, Talent – MaRS Discovery District (professional)


MaRS is where science, technology and social entrepreneurs get the help they need. Where all kinds of people meet to spark new ideas. And where a global reputation for innovation is being earned, one success story at a time. MaRS provides resources — people, programs, physical facilities, funding and networks — to ensure that critical innovation happens. We stimulate, identify and harness great ideas, nurture their development and guide the transformation of those ideas into reality.

Consulting Advisor – MaRS Innovation (professional)

Backed by solid market analyses, technical knowledge and business acumen across the life sciences, physical sciences and ICT, MaRS Innovation partners with Toronto member institutions and technology transfer offices to commercialize market-disruptive intellectual property. We have the technical intelligence to support inventors, along with the market and business intelligence to prime new technologies for potential investors. MaRS Innovation turns discoveries into businesses.

Team Member – Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (professional)

CCRM is a Canadian, not-for-profit organization supporting the development of foundational technologies that accelerate the commercialization of stem cell- and biomaterials-based products and therapies. CCRM’s mission is to create and sustain a global nexus for Regenerative Medicine commercialization by unifying dynamic business leadership with high value innovative translational technology platforms based on demonstrated excellence in fundamental stem cell and biomaterial science.

Education (1)

Trent University: Bachelor of Arts, Psychology 1984

Sample Talks (2)

Out Of This World: The MaRS Approach to Talent Management

Increasingly complex work environments require that organizational leaders innovate and implement new tools & approaches to meet the ever-changing needs for talent. In this presentation, Joanne will discuss how MaRS has designed and applied solutions that enhance foundational skills through integrated, well-executed processes and cutting-edge technology solutions. She will also offer suggestions as to how organizations can develop their own talent management strategy.

Will You Wear My Ring? – Employee Engagement

People are the key to driving innovation and moving an organization ahead. Enabling employee development is crucial to organizational success, but the challenge is how to meet employee needs while at the same time developing and leveraging workplace talents at all levels. This workshop will present some best practices when building organizational agility through improved employee engagement, thus allowing the organization to keep up with ever-changing industry trends.


  • Keynote
  • Moderator
  • Panelist
  • Workshop Leader
  • Host/MC
  • Corporate Training


*Will consider certain engagements for no fee