Dr. Katie Greene has always worked in innovation. But lately she’s been working more with startups than scientists.
Katie is the new Director of Operations at Thin Air Labs. It’s her latest position with the organization. She first joined Thin Air Labs in 2021, after she finished her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Calgary.
“I loved being a research scientist for a decade, testing and iterating on hypotheses. And now in innovation, we get to help founders test and iterate their hypotheses, and see the impact they are creating in real time,” says Katie. She’s deeply grateful for the opportunity to transition from research to innovation.
“It’s been an incredible journey with lots of learning and support from our team, including incredible mentorship from our CEO and other advisors,” explains Katie. And as the new Director of Operations she feels “very privileged to have an effect on the business and the team, and be in service to them. My role is to make their lives easier, ensure the founders we partner with get the support they need to grow their business and exceed their expectations on a daily basis.”
Katie excels at exceeding expectations. She recently received the Governor General’s gold medal for her PhD thesis.
“I defended my thesis in August of 2020. But because your examining committee nominates you, and with the pandemic creating a backlog, I just recently received the medal and I’m so honoured. I was a research scientist for 10 years,” explains Katie, “so being able to successfully defend my PhD, get my publications out there and then receive this honour… it’s a really nice way to wrap up the scientific chapter of my career and embark on this new path in innovation.”
These days, Katie is inspired by the momentum continuing to build in Alberta’s innovation ecosystem and Thin Air’s role in that growth.
“To be in a position here at Thin Air, where we can support companies on their journey is why we all show up here everyday. I’m really excited about expanding our impact on startup and scaleup growth with our Funding Catalyst and Product Traction services. We’ve worked with upwards of 190 companies across Canada, and we’re growing our reach to help even more.”
“I think the innovation ecosystem that we see in Calgary, Alberta and Canada is really explosive.” ---Dr. Katie Greene, Dir. of Operations
The innovation happening in Alberta and Canada, continues to excite Katie. And she believes Canadian companies will become leaders in numerous sectors as the appetite for economic diversity and the disruption of traditional industries builds.
“I think the innovation ecosystem that we see in Calgary, Alberta and Canada is really explosive,” says Katie. “I love the way companies are adopting new technologies, whether that’s in advanced manufacturing or the implementation of AI into supply chains or in biotech and workflows, in addition to novel therapeutics and diagnostic tests on the cutting edge of technology that are continuing to push boundaries… all this innovation is happening right here in Canada.”
And international markets are taking note.
“It’s why we’re seeing a lot of companies relocate to Alberta. Not just within Canada, but also internationally. It’s a testament to what we’re building. We all know how exciting it is here,” explains Katie, “but when you see people externally suddenly talking about Alberta, then bringing their businesses here, it’s huge.”
It’s why Katie is delighted to be part of this community #BuildingWhatsNext.