Iris Almeida-Côté is President and Chief Executive Officer at INNOVACONNECT offering strategic management services to organisations in Executive leadership, governance, cybersecurity and public affairs. She assists organisations, SME’s, universities and Indigenous People’s communities with strategic planning, internal audit, risk management and corporate governance training. Iris has initiated economic development initiatives and strategic partnerships across Canada and in eighty countries around the world. She is proficient in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Hindi.
Iris is a Corporate Director (ICD.D) having completed the Director Education at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto and the Institute of Corporate Directors. She is a member of Institute of Internal Auditors – Government of Canada Audit Group. She is trained in Financial Management and Governance at the Université Laval, Collège des Adminstrateurs de Sociétés (CAS) as well as in Health Sector Governance at the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations (IGOPP). She also received her advanced management training at McGill University and at the Canadian Centre for Management. Iris holds a Master's Degree in International Law from the Université du Québec à Montréal as well as a Master's Degree in Sociology from the University of Bombay.
In 2018 Iris was nominated to the Canadian Space Agency Audit Committee by the Controller General Treasury Board of Canada. She also serves as member of the Council on the Status of Women appointed by the Government of Québec. She is the Treasurer on the Board of Directors at Public Relations without Boarders. She is also a Strategic Adviser at the Institut d’études international de Montreal at the l’Université de Québec à Montreal (UQAM). Iris served for four years as Chair of the Audit committee on the Board of Directors of the Saint-Justine University Hospital (CHUSJ), Treasurer on the Board of Directors of Lawyers without Borders Canada and on the Board of Directors at the Canadian Society of Association Executives. A strategic adviser at the Conseil interculturel - City of Montreal, Iris contributed as a jury member for the Scotia Bank – UQAM Merit Scholarships and the Women of Inspiration Entrepreneurship Awards organised by the Chantier d’Afrique. Over the past five years she served as an independent member on the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) Community Investment Committee and since October 2019 she has been elected by the membership to serve on CIRA’s Board of Directors.
A senior executive leading innovations and growth in organisations for over thirty years, Iris served as Executive Director at the Royal Society of Canada where she worked with a network of Canada’s leading scientists, scholars and artists. She also served as Strategic Executive Director at the International Association for Public Participation and worked with trainers around the world to refine the content and methodologies for effective Stakeholder Engagement. Iris was President and Chief Executive Officer at Canada World Youth, and President and Chief Executive Officer at the Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute. She served as Director of Policy and Programs at the Canadian Parliamentary Centre Rights and Democracy from 1991 to 2006, and Director of Programs at Partnership Africa Canada from 1988 to 1991. On an international level, she was Assistant Secretary-General of CIDSE (Coopération Internationale pour le Développement et la Solidarité) an international organisation with consultative status and UN and the European Union in Brussels and President of the International Movement of University Students in Paris.
Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women laureate in 2008 and again in 2011, presented by the Women's Executive Network. In 2018 Iris received the Women of Excellence Award in Financial Risk Management from the Women’s Economic Forum. In 2014, Iris received the Prix de la Reconnaissance (Outstanding Alumni Award) from l’Université de Québec à Montreal (UQAM), and in 2012 the SME Passport Award from the Caisse de Depot et de placement du Québec and the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. Iris received the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in 2009 and the Prix d'Éxcellence presented by the Réseau des femmes d'affaires du Québec in 2007. She was nominated for the Diversity 50 Award in 2012, by the Canadian Board Diversity Council and Equilar promoting the inclusion of women from diverse cultures with experience and specialised expertise in governance to contribute to corporate boards.