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Profiling: Roxanne Fairweather, co-CEO and co-owner of Innovatia May 15, 2012

Posted by Jane Fritz in Profiles.
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This is the second in our new series of profiling women in our industry. We hope you’ll enjoy reading Roxanne’s story.  If you have suggestions for other women to profile, please leave a comment at the end of this post. Or drop me a line at jane@unb.ca.

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Roxanne Fairweather is Co-CEO of Innovatia Inc., a large and successful knowledge management and training services company headquartered in Saint John.  On top of this, she is the co-owner of Innovatia.  Roxanne had been the Chief Operating Officer of Innovatia under the Bell Aliant umbrella from 2001, having moved to that position from being President of Aliant Wireless.  In November 2009, Roxanne and her business partner and Co-CEO, Dave Grebenc, acquired the Innovatia business from Bell Aliant, making it a privately held company.

Few New Brunswick women have been as successful in the male-dominated world of business as Roxanne.  How did she get there?

As explained in a March 2010 provincial government profile as part of a celebration of International Women’s Day, Roxanne knows it wasn’t just hard work that has brought her success and recognition as one of our region’s most influential and accomplished business leaders.  She credits her success to the many great mentors and leaders who believed in her along the way and to her longstanding business philosophy of putting others first; both clients and employees.

Named one of the Atlantic region’s 50 most accomplished business executives by Atlantic Business Magazine in 2005, Roxanne leads a workforce that has grown to employ over 300 people, 200 of whom work within the province of New Brunswick.  Innovatia Inc. also has operations elsewhere in Canada, plus employees working in Ireland, India and the United States.

She is also playing a key role helping the New Brunswick government by serving as Board Chair of FacilicorpNB Ltd., the agency created to amalgamate all non-clinical shared services such as information technology and communication, material management and clinical engineering amongst the regional health care authorities.  Roxanne serves as a director of Brunswick Pipeline and has been a long-time member of the University of New Brunswick’s Board of Governors, including a 2-year term as Chair.  Additionally, she is a past director of LearnSphere Canada, and past founding member of Propel ICT, a group of Saint John business people (led by Gerry Pond) driving the I.T. and communications sector within the city.

Her interest in education has also forged a partnership between Innovatia and ELF, the Elementary Literacy Friends program, which focuses on increasing literacy in New Brunswick.

Ms. Fairweather believes serendipity found her working 25 years ago on the ground floor at NBTel.  “As a single mother of three I was fortunate to have great mentors and leaders who saw and believed in my potential,” she says.

It was early in her career at NBTel that she witnessed a business culture of putting others – colleagues and clients – first.  Throughout her own career as a business leader and manager, she has worked hard to cultivate similar work environments.

“As a leader, it is inspiring to help people to be successful by creating an environment which stimulates creativity, collaboration and cooperation that allows the overall success of the business and the professional growth of the individuals within it,” says Fairweather.   She also believes in pursuing goals with passion and persistence and pushing beyond your comfort zone. Growth comes from the failures and successes and learning from both.  “It’s a valuable tool to self-improvement,” she says.

Fairweather finds her own encouragement and motivation close to home. Her mother raised seven children and worked hard to make every day a great day.   “She taught me that anyone can make a difference,” says Fairweather, who believes that a person doesn’t have to make grand gestures to contribute to their work-place or community.

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