CEO Message

Sherry Vanstone

This month I’d like to recognize all of the positive changes and lessons learned from 2020 that will carry over into this year. 

One of the largest adjustments in 2020 was the shift from in-person events to virtual events and to highlight virtual events on the Profound Impact platform this month our webinar series, Profound Insights, is thrilled to host its third episode titled “Realtime Pivot and Connecting the Dots for Multifaceted, Engaging Virtual Events at Scale: A University of Waterloo Faculty of Mathematics Case Study” on January 27th at 12pm EST.  

If you have people in your network interested in Profound Insights, please invite them to this upcoming webinar. Each registrant will be invited to complete a free self-assessment tool on stakeholder engagement strategy.  Each organization that submits the assessment will also be entered into a draw to receive up to four hours of consulting, at no charge, with Barney Ellis-Perry, Profound Impact’s engagement strategist. 

Thank you for your ongoing support. We look forward to a healthy and productive 2021! 

Warmest regards, 

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

Profound Connections

Webinar Monthly Recap

Episode 1 — Connecting Forward: Leveraging your Institution’s Strategic Objectives to Drive Alumni Engagement
Part One: November 24th, 2020
Part Two: December 15th, 2020

Profound Impact launched its new webinar series, Profound Insights, in November 2020 with a two-part case study on how Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is working to successfully align its alumni engagement strategy with the overall institutional strategic plan using the Profound Impact platform. Perimeter Institute is a leading centre for scientific research, training, and educational outreach in foundational theoretical physics. Perimeter also trains the next generation of physicists through innovative programs and has a worldwide base of alumni and friends.  Perimeter Institute is working to strategically engage those alumni and to explore Profound Impact as an effective tool to help them measure the collective impact of alumni on physics research.  

The inaugural two episodes of Profound Insights featured participation by Perimeter Institute advancement, alumni and marketing staff and Profound Impact’s fundraising and alumni strategist, Barney Ellis-Perry. The Perimeter team worked with Barney through the process to draft goals and objectives with the institute’s Alumni Taskforce in order to align a new alumni and friends strategy with their overall strategic plan, to draft a strategy execution roadmap, and to map that roadmap against technology platforms.

Key to the success of Perimeter’s work was the institute’s use of Profound Impact’s Self-Assessment Tool, which enables organizations to evaluate and implement strategic drivers for constituent engagement.  Identification of those drivers, combined with follow-up work with Barney Ellis-Perry, resulted in a strategy implementation road map and timeline.  An integral element of that road map is use of the Profound Impact platform to engage with alumni and friends via targeted communications, connections and affinity groups, reunions, lifelong learning and events, and career support and mentoring.

Do your strategies for engaging with alumni align with your institution’s strategic plan?  Do you have an implementation plan in place to effectively communicate with your alumni and provide new ways of digital engagement?  You can access Profound Impact’s Self-Assessment tool at no charge and watch the two-part episode Connecting Forward: Leveraging your Institution’s Strategic Objectives to Drive Alumni Engagement.

And be sure to follow the Profound Insights webinar series for monthly episodes on topics of importance to academic, research and technology focused organizations.Webinar topics cover a wide range of subjects, all relating to practical tips and information about making connections with your stakeholders and facilitating engagement including proven methods to facilitate alumni and faculty engagement, how to share information while addressing privacy concerns, and success stories that show the impact of individuals and organizations on each other and on the world.  

found Insights webinars are offered monthly on the last Tuesday of the month at 12 noon EST.  Our next webinar on January 27th, 2021 will be a discussion and demonstration of how the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo is using the Profound Impact platform to strategically pivot from hosting in-person events to offering meaningful online experiences. Please join us for Realtime Pivot and Connecting the Dots for Multifaceted, Engaging Virtual Events at Scale: A University of Waterloo Faculty of Mathematics Case Study, featuring Candace Harrington, Director of Advancement, Faculty of Mathematics, University of Waterloo.

Impact Stories: Scott Vanstone

The Impact Stories series highlights individuals in our global community who are making, or who have made, a profound impact on inspiring collaborative solutions to the challenges faced by our world today.

Ron Mullin, William Tutte, Scott Vanstone, Alfred Menezes

Scott Vanstone — Pioneer, Visionary and Mentor

When Scott Vanstone first learned about Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) in 1985, he recognized it had the power to change the world. Today, ECC is one of the most powerful types of cryptography securing most of the devices we use every day. Its success is due in large part to Scott’s vision, research and perseverance and to those he mentored and trained during his career as a researcher, professor and entrepreneur.

Scott’s journey from PhD student to world-renowned researcher and company co-founder can be traced back to Bletchley Park, Britain’s secret facility set up in World War II and staffed with young mathematicians to break Nazi codes.

When the Department of Mathematics was founded in 1960 at the newly-established University of Waterloo, its chairman, Ralph Stanton, had the foresight to recruit influential faculty members — including William Tutte, the founder of graph theory and Bletchley Park alum.  In addition to teaching and research, Waterloo offered Tutte the opportunity to mentor graduate students in the emerging field of cryptography.  Ron Mullin was one of those students.

Ron Mullin arrived in Waterloo in 1959 to finish his graduate work and became first-ever UW graduate, receiving an MA in mathematics in 1960.  

Scott Vanstone graduated with his PhD in Mathematics from the University of Waterloo in 1974, working under Ron Mullin’s supervision.  Scott established his career as an assistant professor of Mathematics in the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization (C&O) and, during the early part of his career, concentrated on pure mathematics. However, he quickly became intrigued with cryptography and its potential for real-world applications. 

In 1985, he co-founded Certicom Corp with Professors Ron Mullin and Gord Agnew to commercialize a new mathematical method and chip architecture the team had discovered. 

In addition to his work as a researcher and entrepreneur, Scott was also known for his ability to collaborate with others and bring out the best in his students. He had a unique ability to identify talent immediately and worked with his students to help them achieve their Masters or PhDs and encouraged them to push themselves.

Although Scott passed away in 2014, he continues to have an impact on the future of cryptography. 

Alfred Menezes, now a professor in the C&O Department at UW, was one of those students. Scott visited Menezes’ Brampton high school to encourage him to attend the University of Waterloo. Menezes went on to receive his PhD in 1992 and his thesis was published as the first book on ECC. Today, Menezes is recognized as a leading expert in cryptography. 

Michele Mosca, also a professor in the Waterloo C&O Department, is researching the new generation of cryptography that will be needed with the advancement in quantum computing. As Mosca works on advancing quantum computing and building a stronger cyber immune system, he has looked to Scott’s early work in building Certicom’s contribution to ECC as a playbook. 

Spanning more than 80 years, from breaking Nazi codes to building quantum computers, Scott Vanstone’s distinguished academic heritage and ground-breaking legacy are testament to the profound impact of connections and collaborations.

Scott Vanstone’s Academic Ancestry (click images for larger)