Board of Directors

The board of directors of Purism SPC consists of:

Shahid Ahmad

An entrepreneur overseeing businesses in different parts of the world for 45 years, in industries such as Media, Start-ups, Real estate, Investment, Philanthropy. He has a graduate degree in Glass Science, B. Ed, spent post graduate – one year reading Physics and one year, International Affairs. He is a founding member of Young President’s Organization (YPO), Pakistan, and has served on the council of YPO Worldwide. As well, member of Family Business Network (FBN Germany) and various academic societies:

  • American Ceramic Society – Member Emeritus
  • Society of Glass Technology
  • Institute of International Affairs – Pakistan
  • Pakistan Association of Scientists and scientific Profession

He serves on the board of a number of public, private, and philanthropic institutions including support to schools in developing countries. He leads an active life, passionate about world affairs, diplomacy, and humanity.

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Deepak Deshpande

Deepak Deshpande brings over 34 years of experience in sales and marketing of consumer durables, brand development, and the management of retail chains in the footwear and athletic apparel industry. His management experience across various geographies, including the US, Canada, Europe and India, is a major source of experiential knowledge. Most recently, he led an initiative at the Tata Group of Companies in Mumbai, India to start a retail concept dedicated to footwear. Having pioneered the development of multinational brands in developed as well as emerging markets, from the product development stage to global sourcing, logistics, and post purchase customer service, Deepak brings a holistic and international perspective to Purism’s board. Deepak’s hobbies include playing tennis, reading historical fiction, and organic farming.

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Stephen Dukes

Stephen Dukes has 41 years of business and engineering leadership experience, having served with Fortune 500 companies and start-ups on boards of directors and technical advisory boards. Mr. Dukes is the President of Dreamerse Inc., a virtual and augmented reality and solutions platform. He has served on eight corporate boards of public and privately held companies. Previously, Mr. Dukes has served President and CEO of Aumne and VP of Media One, TCI, and CableLabs. He has also held executive and technical positions with 3DO, Boeing Computer Services and GTE.

Mr Dukes’s major accomplishments include: architecture development and design for the North American cable industry that invested more than $85B in capital in infrastructure based on the architecture; being responsible, as CEO of MCNS in 1995, for management oversight and development of the Data Over Cable System Interface Specifications (DOCSIS) enabling high speed data, with over 140M cable modems deployed to the specifications; being the architect of one of the first Video on Demand solutions in 1984 and of GTE’s Fiber/Video testbed in Cerritos, California in 1985; development of the original virtual network for interactive games with 3DO in 1993; and being a member of the team involved with the design and development of the first private X.25 data network in 1979.

Mr. Dukes holds a B.S. of Mathematics degree from the University of Washington. He is an IEEE Fellow (2002) and a member of the American College of Corporate Directors. Mr Dukes holds a Masters Professional Director Certification.

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Ashley Pover

Ashley Pover is the owner and CEO of Met Zurich LLP and has over 32 years of experience in the finance arena and running major businesses.

Coming from a specialist military background, Mr. Pover began working for Hoare Govett in the early 1980’s where he founded their secondary Eurobond broking business.

In 1987 Mr. Pover joined Cantor Fitzgerald where he swiftly established Cantor Fitzgerald as the leading Interdealer Broker of the day. As a Managing Director he also forged Cantor’s into the number one on screen broker of European Government Bonds. In 1996 Mr. Pover was appointed CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald Canada. In this role he established businesses in Swaps Options Provincials and Money Markets. He also created Cantor Direct, the interactive US Treasury Platform and oversaw the acquisition and integration of ‘Freedom Bondbrokers’.

After 14 years at Cantor’s Mr. Pover founded and ran several other non-financial businesses. Additionally, Mr Pover spent 2 years at Dexion Capital where he managed the Sales and Marketing of Closed End Listed Fund of Funds.

In 2009 Mr. Pover founded Met Zurich as an Investment Strategy and Fixed Income Brokerage house. He has also overseen the firms’ expansion into a Specialist Structured Finance providing capital solutions for a diverse range of institutional clients.

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Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer is a bestselling science-fiction writer; the ABC TV series FlashForward was based on his novel of the same name. As a futurist, he’s given talks at the Library of Congress, the Googleplex, Cambridge University, and multiple TEDx events; consulted with NASA, DARPA, and the Canadian Federal Department of Justice; and presented keynotes to over one hundred organizations including the International Association of Privacy Professionals, the Gartner IT Security Summit, and Lockheed Martin.

Recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the holder of two honorary doctorates, Rob is one of only eight writers in history to have won all three of the world’s top awards for best science-fiction novel of the year: the Hugo, the Nebula, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He has published in both of the world’s leading scientific journals, Science (guest editorial on robot ethics) and Nature (fiction), and New Scientist magazine calls his work “scientifically plausible, fictionally intriguing, and ethically important.”

Rob spent four years on the Board of Directors of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, including serving as the organization’s first non-American president in 1998.

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Benjamin Trister

Purism, SPC’s first independent member of the company’s board of directors, Benjamin J. Trister is a retired lawyer. Mr. Trister was a senior partner in an established law firm, where he represented transnational companies with an emphasis on the technology and entertainment industries. His former clients include large technology companies such as SAP and HP as well as major American film studios and Academy, Grammy, Tony and Juno Award winners and nominees. Mr. Trister was repeatedly recognized by American Lawyer magazine and Lexpert as one of the leading 500 lawyers in the country and among the top few in his field. Mr. Trister double-majored in Economics and Political Science at McGill University before earning his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Windsor and Juris Doctor degree (cum laude) from the University of Detroit. He has authored and edited law books and has appeared in the national media often as a legal expert.

Mr. Trister is a certified expert in corporate governance. He is a Chartered Director, having graduated from The Directors College. He has decades of experience serving on boards, usually in leadership positions. He has been appointed to the board of multiple governmental and public organizations. Currently, in addition to serving on Purism, SPC’s board, Mr. Trister serves as Treasurer of Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Repository Services, Chairperson of the Parkdale Community Food Bank, Secretary of the Shoebox Project for Shelters, and as a board member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. Mr. Trister is the recipient of two awards in recognition of his community service.

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Helen Vasilevski

Helen Vasilevski’s international career has spanned over 20 years bringing a consumer-centric focus to highly branded products and services ranging from CPG to wearable tech to durables including highly-engineered motorized products. She has held roles across various leadership areas at P&G and Diageo as well as executive roles including CEO and CMO for private-equity funded, late-stage start-ups, and family-led SME companies. She leads teams during periods of transformation to challenge their thinking around profitable growth in the areas of strategy, marketing, sales, and experiential activation and has a proven reputation for building businesses and high-performing teams.

Helen’s experience is global—she has lived in 6 countries and explored and/or worked across 80+. She is based in Switzerland traveling extensively for her professional engagements. Helen has an MBA from INSEAD (France) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree from Queen’s University. She is an active mentor and coach to mid-level executives and serves on the board of Purism, Manta Motors (France), and the Global Advisory council of the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

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Nikki Zinman

As a global HR professional with 20+ years of experience, Nikki is responsible for leading the Human Resources function for North America at Pearson. Nikki joined Pearson in 2012 when they acquired EmbanetCompass; she has been in her current role since 2014. Her career has evolved to senior business partnering roles, with a strong commercial focus, within fast-paced, entrepreneurial and technology-driven environments. In addition to her M.A. majoring in business ethics and globalization, she has built HR functions from the ground up; set global HR strategy, managed the HR components of M&A’s, coached and built high performing teams, created compensation programs, and established strong performance culture. Prior to joining Pearson, Nikki held roles at Dell, Oracle and ING.

Nikki is responsible for approximately 16,000 North America based employees and leads an integrated HR team across the continent.

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You may also be interested in reading about our core team.