Toronto – Sonia Sennik, executive director of Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) and the CDL Rapid Screening Consortium, has been honoured as a recipient of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40® for 2021. The award was announced today.
Since joining the CDL in 2017, a not-for-profit organization that delivers a seed-stage program for massively scalable, science-based companies, founded at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, Sennik has led an expansion to new sites along with an increase of the number of streams offered at each site. CDL now operates in four countries across 10 locations, including University of Oxford, Georgia Tech, and University of Washington. During the pandemic, they played a leading role in the launch and implementation of workplace rapid screening to help reopen the economy in a safe way. The CDL Rapid Screening Consortium is an unprecedented collaboration among businesses, researchers, and government working together on a singular public-interest objective. Under their leadership, over 1,700 organizations have joined the consortium to make their workplaces safer.
“I have seen firsthand Sonia’s extraordinary dedication to Canada, their singular work ethic, and their relentless drive and determination to deliver a workplace rapid screening program to Canadians. Again and again, Sonia leads their team to achieve several “never-been-done” items. Sonia is a remarkable leader in this country and abroad,” says University of Toronto Professor Janice Stein, and Founding Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.
The winners, including Sennik, were selected from hundreds of nominees by a respected and independent advisory board, comprising thirty diverse leaders from across Canada. Four key criteria were assessed to select the recipients: Vision & Innovation, Leadership, Impact & Influence, and Social Responsibility. Recipients will be honoured at a series of events to take place in the coming months.
Sonia Sennik is the Executive Director of Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), a seed-stage program for massively scalable, science-based companies. They are responsible for the CDL’s strategic, operational and programmatic leadership, coordination and oversight to ensure the success of the Lab and its ventures across ten university-based locations in Canada, US, UK and France. The organization operates sites at the University of Toronto, University of Oxford, Georgia Tech, HEC Paris, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of British Columbia, University of Montreal, University of Calgary, University of Washington, and Dalhousie University. Sennik is also the Executive Director of the CDL Rapid Screening Consortium, a not-for-profit organization focused on developing a cost-effective system for reopening the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having spent a decade managing large-scale capital projects (up to $500M) at Hatch Ltd., a leading global engineering firm, Sennik is well-established in guiding interdisciplinary teams of professionals working on multiple, complex projects.
In 2020, they founded the Sonia Sennik Resilience Fund at McMaster University to award an annual $8,000 entrance scholarship for an engineering student who has shown grit and strength of character in their life – whether that’s at school, at home, on the athletic field, or in their creative pursuits. This commitment grew into a $300,000+ endowed fund with more than 40 start-up founders, CEOs, world-leading scientists, engineers, and economists contributing to the effort. It is the largest multi-donor endowment in McMaster Engineering history.
Sennik was the head coach of Rugby Ontario Senior Women’s Team from 2016 to 2018, winning gold, silver and bronze at the Canadian Rugby Championships. They have previously served as vice-chair of the board of directors for ParticipACTION – a 50 year old organization dedicated to helping Canadians sit less and move more. Sennik is a proud graduate of the MBA program at Rotman School of Management and was the first-ever recipient of the Social Impact Award. They received the Rotman Emerging Leader Award to recognize their influential leadership talent to motivate, mentor and inspire others to reach their potential, They also hold a B.Eng degree from McMaster University.
Canada’s Top 40 Under 40® is an annual leadership award that recognizes exceptional achievement by 40 outstanding Canadians who are under the age of 40. Founded in 1995 by Caldwell, Top 40 has recognized almost 1,000 outstanding Canadians and is the country’s most coveted award for young business and community leaders. Recipients have a remarkable track record of continuing achievement; Top 40 alumni now include hundreds of nationally and internationally prominent CEOs, executives, and entrepreneurs in the private, public, and social economy sectors.
Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is a not-for-profit organization that delivers an objectives-based program for massively scalable, seed-stage, science- and technology-based companies. Its nine-month program allows founders to learn from experienced entrepreneurs, increasing their likelihood of success. Founded in 2012 by Professor Ajay Agrawal at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, the program has expanded to ten sites across four countries: Oxford (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford), Paris (HEC Paris), Atlanta (Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology), Madison (Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison), Seattle (University of Washington, Foster School of Business), Vancouver (Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia), Montreal (HEC Montréal), Calgary (Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary), and Halifax (Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University). It now includes 16 streams: AgTech, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Climate, Commerce, Energy, FinTech, Health, Matter, Neuro, Oceans, Prime (General Technology), Quantum, Risk, Space, and Supply Chain. The successful commercialization of cutting-edge science and technology achieved through the program has led to the creation of over $15 billion in equity value.
The Rotman School of Management is part of the University of Toronto, a global centre of research and teaching excellence at the heart of Canada’s commercial capital. Rotman is a catalyst for transformative learning, insights and public engagement, bringing together diverse views and initiatives around a defining purpose: to create value for business and society. For more information, visit www.rotman.utoronto.ca.