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.

Back to top

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.

Back to top

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.

A member of the Order of Canada, 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, and he proudly serves as an officiant for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, swearing in new Canadians as they take the oath of citizenship.

Back to top

Jennifer Stoddart

Jennifer Stoddart served as Canada’s sixth Privacy Commissioner for ten years. In this capacity, she oversaw a number of important investigations, including those concerning Facebook’s privacy policies and a massive data breach at U.S. retail giant TJX. Ms Stoddart also led efforts to help private-sector organizations understand their obligations under the Personal Information and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) in the first years after the legislation came into force.

Ms Stoddart is currently a Regulator Advisory at Nymity and works with privacy and data protection regulators around the world. She is also a Visiting Scholar at McGill university’s Centre of Genomics and Policy.

Ms Stoddart has been involved in global privacy issues through her work with international organizations such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation,. She currently serves on the Executive of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, the world’s largest global information privacy community.

Prior to becoming Privacy Commissioner, Ms Stoddart, a lawyer, worked to modernize regulations and remove barriers to employment based on gender or cultural differences. She headed the Quebec Commission on Access to Information and held senior positions at the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission, the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women. She was also the President of the Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec, an organization responsible for both access to information and the protection of personal information.

Ms Stoddart is a recipient of the Order of Canada, awarded to her by the Governor General for Canada in recognition to her contribution to Canadian society and her work internationally. Ms Stoddart was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from McGill University and the University of Ottawa. She is an Advocate Emeritus of the Quebec Bar.

Back to top

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 at Canada’s largest 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 Canada 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 served on boards as an appointee of the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario and the Canadian Government. 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 (Canada). Mr. Trister is the recipient of two awards issued under the auspices of the Governor General of Canada in recognition of his community service.

Back to top

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 (Canada, USA, France, Italy, China, Switzerland) 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 (Canada). She is an active mentor and coach to mid-level executives and serves on the board of Purism (USA), Manta Motors (France), and the Global Advisory council of the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University (Canada).

Back to top

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 Canada and the US. She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa but relocated to Toronto, Canada when she was in grade school. She lives in Toronto, with her husband Andrew and dog, Mia.

Back to top


You may also be interested in our advisory board and the core team.