Managing Partners

Cathy Bennett

Founding and Managing Partner

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Cathy Bennett

Founding and Managing Partner

As a former CEO, seasoned entrepreneur, current board director and consultant, and as a prominent business-person in Newfoundland, Cathy’s focus is growth. With over 30 years of business leadership, her own company, Bennett Group of Companies, included operations in commercial and industrial construction, industrial manufacturing, human resource support, food service, industrial supply and real estate investments and operations. Cathy is currently the CEO of TaskForce NL. Cathy serves/has served on public, private and crown corporation boards spanning diverse industries. Cathy is an active angel investor and mentor for early-stage technology companies.
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Rhiannon Davies

Founding and Managing Partner

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Rhiannon Davies

Founding and Managing Partner

A native of New Brunswick, Rhiannon’s business leadership spans Europe, Asia, South and North America. She was on the Board of Directors that took GrandVision N.V., a CAD$ 5.5 Billion revenue retailer with businesses in 45 countries, through a successful IPO on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. Rhiannon has driven the target identification, due diligence, acquisition, integration and move to profitability of many companies. She thrives in fast moving, fast growth environments, and works in executive and board roles in private, public and non-profit organizations.  Rhiannon believes in the need to support entrepreneurship and innovation to deliver meaningful change in business, community, and social development. She actively supports this belief by serving as a mentor and angel investor.
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Sarah young

Founding and Managing Partner

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Sarah young

Founding and Managing Partner

Sarah Young is an entrepreneur, a business leader and one of Canada’s most sought-after communications advisors. She is Partner and Senior Counsel Managing Partner at NATIONAL Public Relations, Canada’s leading PR firm. Previously Sarah was Managing Partner responsible for Atlantic Canada at NATIONAL and she also led the corporate talent strategy across the global network for AVENIR GLOBAL, one of the world’s 15 largest communications companies. Sarah helps private and public organizations across Canada tackle complex challenges ranging from industry disruptors, the modernized workplace, gaining social license, shifting consumer attitudes, scaling business into new markets and investment attraction. She is specifically committed to building advisor networks and investment opportunities for women in ventures. Sarah bought her first company at 28 and sold it to NATIONAL after significant growth and expansion. Prior to returning to Atlantic Canada, Sarah was Vice President, Technology of an international public relations firm based in Toronto focused on start-ups.
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Our Team

Sandpiper Ventures is founded by a group of intensely engaged, highly experienced, internationally networked women with deep expertise and proven leadership across several industries and services. We came together with a shared vision to radically disrupt the venture capital landscape, deliver social change and economic value, and ensure fair representation of women’s innovation.

Steven Carr

CFO

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Steven Carr

CFO

Steven Carr is a Chartered Professional Accountant with over 25 years of experience in the fields of diverse tax, finance and business consulting. Over these years, he has connected with over 500 companies, providing advice and support to successfully reach their unique objectives. Steven began his career as a senior manager in business banking with RBC Royal Bank. Further enhancing his experience in financial services, he spent 2 years at CIBC World Markets before transitioning to Deloitte LLP in 2005. In 2016, Steven started his own private practice, with a focus on start-up companies in the IT and Bio-Sciences space, to provide fractional CFO, tax advice and support his client to claim the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (“SR&ED”) tax credits. Steven has also worked with a number of local Venture Capital firms who have invested in the start-up sector by providing advice on accounting and due diligence. Steven obtained his Chartered Professional Accountant designation in 2004, received his MBA(Finance) from Saint Mary’s and holds a Bachelor of Arts(History) from Dalhousie University. He is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Nova Scotia.
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Tara Wickwire

Brand and Network Lead

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Tara Wickwire

Brand and Network Lead

As a celebrated brand strategist, Tara has curated company, consumer and executive brands across sectors and industries. She has worked with food tech startup Outcast Foods, where she has led marketing, brand communications and strategic positioning for the company, charting their leadership in food waste mitigation and developing global channels for the company's upcycled products. Prior to Outcast she was Associate Vice President, Marketing and Brand Strategy at NATIONAL Public Relations, Canada’s leading Public Relations firm. She specialized in brand and media strategy, event marketing and executive profile building and communications. As part of this, she worked with executives in helping them define their personal brand, share their vision with a broader audience and bring a human story to their business. Tara is passionate about encouraging leaders to think more critically about their values, vision and voice while establishing them as industry experts and influencers in their own right. She is a former board member of Propel and current board member of Brilliant Labs.
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Sorav Sogy

Saint Mary’s University Intern

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Sorav Sogy

Saint Mary’s University Intern

Sogy joins Sandpiper on a four-month work term under the Co-operative education program for BComm Students at Saint Mary’s University. Sogy is a 3rd Year international student from Punjab, India, Pursuing a degree in finance and entrepreneurship at Sobeys School of Business. His previous work Experience includes a term with RBC as a Business Analyst & Project Coordinator. He’s an associate of the Venture Grade student investment fund at SMU. (A evergreen, student-run & raised fund) Sogy is a student representative on the SMU’s Academic Senate. He serves as the finance committee chair on the Board of Directors for the Saint Mary’s university student association (SMUSA). He’s also a teaching assistant in the finance faculty. Apart from his academic and work experience, Sogy is an outgoing person who loves trying new things & unique experiences.
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Ben Blackmore

CLO

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Ben Blackmore

CLO

Born and raised in central Newfoundland and Labrador, Ben joined the Sandpiper team in 2021 as external legal counsel. Ben is a partner at the law firm of Blackmore Law office in central Newfoundland where he practices in the areas of commercial real estate, marine law, general corporate/commercial law and business sales and acquisitions. He has been practicing at Blackmore Law office since 2005, prior to which he articled and practiced as an associate lawyer at the law firm of Davies Ward Philips & Vineberg LLP in Toronto, ON. Ben received his law degree from the University of Victoria in British Columbia where he was awarded the gold medal for top marks in his graduating class. When not practicing law, Ben enjoys reading, the outdoors and all manner of sports. Ben is an active member of his community; he previously served on the Board of the South & Central Health Foundation, the last 3 years as Chair, and was a board member of the Winterset in Summer Literacy Festival. At present he is coaching the local Grade 9 boys basketball team.

Mark Fraser

CSO

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Mark Fraser

CSO

Mark Fraser is an accomplished, award-winning executive that has worked inside of some of North America’s most recognizable brands. He is an alum of both Mount Allison University (1994) and Harvard Business School (2011). An entrepreneur at heart, he has most recently traded executive leadership in one of North America’s largest applied data services organizations for the intimacy of independent advisory at 440park, through which he is providing fractional portfolio engagement services to Sandpiper Ventures. Mark has fiduciary board experience that spans private, community, and public sector organizations. Mark is former Chair of the Executive Committee of the Mount Allison University Board of Regents, Lead Independent Director at HomeEXCEPT, Independent Director at Oberland Agriscience, Director at Alpine Nova Scotia, and Past Chair of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. Mark also serves on several non-governing boards including Engage Nova Scotia Business Advisory Council; the Dalhousie MBA Advisory Council and recently was a member of the Mayor’s Poverty Solutions Advisory Committee in Halifax.
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Lynn Coveyduck

Operations

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Lynn Coveyduck

Operations

Lynn's Dad would say she can't keep a job...she says she's just interested in too many different things. Over the course of her career, Lynn has led a non-profit, tackled challenging media issues such as strikes and lay-offs, built new lines of revenue in the post-secondary industry, and managed an economic development team's province-wide response to COVID-19 in its early days. At the same time, she's raised funds to build a new YMCA and the Margaret Norrie McCain Centre at MSVU, mentored students, entrepreneurs, and new Nova Scotians, been on a Chamber of Commerce task force, and helped plan provincial legs of national conferences (twice). And she's also the only Duke MBA graduate in Atlantic Canada (as far as she knows - if you're a Blue Devil, get in touch). Now she's stepped into the VC realm, using her strategic management skills to align our work and ensure founders and investors are given the custom, thoughtful Sandpiper treatment they won't get anywhere else.
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Our Founding Partner Advisory Board

Our founding partners are C-level business leaders with diverse industry perspectives, proven track records of delivering growth and profitability and deep and valuable networks. The group includes successful founding entrepreneurs, investment professionals, angel investors, and senior business and technology leaders. This diversity and breadth of capability drives success in both the selection and development of our investment portfolio.

OZGE YELOGLU

VP Enterprise Advanced Analytics, CIBC

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OZGE YELOGLU

VP Enterprise Advanced Analytics, CIBC

Ozge is focused on fintech and building analytics solutions for some of the biggest financial services companies in Canada. Ozge has experience as an entrepreneur with an academic background. Prior to joining CIBC, she worked as the Chief Data Scientist at Microsoft Canada. She was also the cofounder and CEO of topLog, a startup focused on predictive data analysis based on unstructured log data. She started topLog in 2013 while she was working towards her PhD degree in computer science at Dalhousie University. Her experience with switching from academia to entrepreneurship has taught her how to solve real-world problems by applying her deep academic knowledge.
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Amy Risley

CEO, Skinfix, Inc.

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Amy Risley

CEO, Skinfix, Inc.

Originally from the US, Amy has held leadership positions at Jo Malone/Estee Lauder, and Space NK/Manzanita Capital (London, UK).  Amy acquired Skinfix in 2012 and she and her team of 100% women has grown the business into a leading international clean skincare brand, distributed at Sephora US/Canada and on QVC, with headquarters in Halifax.  Skinfix Inc. acquired Sweet Spot Labs in 2014, a feminine hygiene brand that was founded by Canadian born and raised, Shari Creed.  Sweet Spot Labs operates in the fast-growing sector of feminine personal care, focused on empowering women to take care of their bodies with products formulated for their unique needs.  Sweet Spot Labs is sold at Shopper's Drug Mart, Walmart and Rexall in Canada, and at Target, Ulta Beauty and Urban Outfitters in the US.  Amy is a member of the Female Founder Collective and Cosmetic Executive Women, and often speaks at industry events hosted by Women's Wear Daily, Cosmetic Executive Women, Refinery 29 and others regarding her brands' unique positioning in the highly competitive beauty industry, her choice to build the business in Nova Scotia, Canada and the fact that her company is 100% female.  Amy's passion is to hire women locally and give them international work experience in this highly competitive industry, in order to groom the senior executives and entrepreneurs of Atlantic Canada's future.
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Shannon Macdonald

Partner, EY

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Shannon Macdonald

Partner, EY

A native of Prince Edward Island, Shannon MacDonald is a senior Partner at EY, leading Health and Social Services in the Canadian marketplace. Shannon is passionate about board governance and the role of ethics in organizations and professions. With over 27 years of professional experience, she has led client relationships for significant organizations in Canada. Shannon has established a reputation as a thought leader and popular speaker on topics ranging from productivity and governance to financial imperatives for provincial government programs and healthcare systems. Shannon’ s community and philanthropic leadership efforts include a variety of board appointments.
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Nicole Leblanc

Partner, Woven Capital

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Nicole Leblanc

Partner, Woven Capital

A native of New Brunswick, Nicole is a partner at 2150, an urbantech and sustainability focused VC based in Europe. She has over 15 years of experience as an investment professional, with a focus on early-stage financing opportunities and ecosystem development. Prior to joining 2150 she was the Director of Investments and Partnerships for Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet company, and was also the Director at BDC Capital, where she managed the seed stage investments and associated portfolio. Nicole is on the board of Innovacorp, Propel, and Brilliant Labs, ensuring she stays close to many East Coast organizations.
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Karen Hutt

EVP Strategy and Business Development, Emera

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Karen Hutt

EVP Strategy and Business Development, Emera

Karen served as Nova Scotia Power’s President and CEO from 2016 until moving into her new role with parent company Emera in 2019. Since first joining the organization in 2001, she has focused on helping Nova Scotia Power successfully navigate the changing energy landscape, while placing customers at the heart of the organization. Her dedication to applying innovative thinking to meet customer needs has helped create growth and build stronger, more connected teams across the organization. In her 18 years with Emera, Karen has led a range of customer, strategy, growth and regulatory initiatives in markets as diverse as Canada, New England, New Mexico and Florida. A strong supporter of her community, Karen has proudly served on a number of community boards.
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Chère Chapman

CEO, Ardea Outcomes

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Chère Chapman

CEO, Ardea Outcomes

Chère Chapman grew up in New Brunswick, has a Master of Health Science in Community Health and Epidemiology and global experience in HIV research with injection drug users. After completing her MBA at London Business School, Chère founded Rasbora Consulting to bridge the divide between the private and non-profit sectors. For over a decade, Chère provided guidance to non-profits trying to improve their effectiveness, aided multinationals in developing impactful shared value programs, and facilitated multi-stakeholder partnerships. She has lived and worked in Japan, India, United Kingdom, Vietnam and Singapore. Chère is now based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she is thrilled to lend her skills in health research and business management to her role as CEO of Ardea Outcomes.
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