Our Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors, which has equal representation, is composed of dedicated members whose profile complement each other in the expertise they bring to the MIS. We’d like you to meet them!

Are you interested in the activities and programs of the Maison de l’innovation sociale (MIS) and would like to participate as an administrator on its board of directors? Submit your application using our online form.

Access the application form

Luciano Barin Cruz, President

Associate Professor of Management and Social Impact at HEC Montréal, he serves as the Director of Pôle Ideos (Social Impact Centre) at HEC Montreal, the Director of the Sustainable Transition Office (HEC Montreal), the Director of the ‘Sustainability Challenge’ module of the EMBA McGill-HEC Montreal. He also holds a research professorship in Organizational Models and Social Impact. Professor Barin Cruz has served as an expert on projects supported by the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB), the Government of Quebec, and Desjardins International Development as well as with several other organizations integrating social impact into their value chains. His research projects focus on social impact/innovation, sustainability, and social responsibility and they have been published in numerous specialist journals.

Photo credit: HEC Montréal

Bram Freedman, Vice-president and Treasurer

A lawyer by training, Mr. Freedman spent most of his professional career at Concordia University as a senior administrator. From 2013 to 2018, he served as vice-president of development and external relations and oversaw the university’s fundraising and outreach efforts, including the Office of Community Engagement. He is an active volunteer who has held several executive positions in the following organizations: CLSC Métro, Jewish Eldercare Centre, Destination Centre-Ville, Conseil Emploi Montréal and the Mallet Institute. In the spring of 2018, he was appointed president and CEO of the Jewish General Hospital Foundation of Montréal.

Selma Idjeraoui, Secretary

As Business Transformation Manager at the consulting group of EY, Selma assists organizations in developing their business strategy to drive large-scale transformations. In 2019, she co-founded The Bigger Data, a nonprofit organization that aims to bridge the gaps between academics and professionals in the field of business intelligence through the networking of charitable organizations and promising talent. She also acts as an ambassador for the Groupe des Trente, an initiative of Concertation Montréal that aims to inspire people from ethnocultural communities to get involved in boards of directors and co-develop original initiatives with Montreal’s colors. Convinced that collective intelligence leads to innovative and humane solutions, Selma has been involved in the community for over a decade, earning her the Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal for Youth.

Isabelle Ouellet, Director

Manager with over 26 years of experience, both in the Canadian financial sector and in international development. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and a master’s degree in economics, she is particularly interested in development economy and social impact. She is the co-author of a working paper addressing the issue of agricultural productivity in developing countries, research that led her to develop and implement innovative financial instruments in several developing countries. Her professional activities led her to work in America, Asia and Africa, mainly as program manager for Développement international Desjardins during more than 10 years. Senior Account Director at Investissement Québec since 2021, she ensures leadership in the analysis and execution of investments and business financing involving multiple partners, related to strategic and structuring projects whose economic impact is significant for Quebec.

Ed D. Vertus, Director

Ed D. Vertus is passionate about social entrepreneurship and supports people who are looking for innovative solutions that have a positive impact on their communities. A graduate in management accounting from UQAM’s École des sciences de la gestion, he specializes in SME management and financing as well as in the social economy and capacity building of NPOs. He taught accounting and management at the college level and was Director of Business Services and Fund Management at a CLD (now PME MTL). As a volunteer, he is a mentor at Futurpreneur and sits on Filaction’s investment committee for the Afro-entrepreneurs Fund. Within Groupe 3737, he is Director, Social Innovation. He manages the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative (SBCCI) whose mandate is to provide project funding to non-profit organizations (NPOs) to increase their organizational capacity. Entrepreneur, Ed D. Vertus has launched and operated three restaurants in Montreal in twelve years. Since 2015, he has been President of Stratège PME, a firm specializing in strategic support and consulting for SMEs. He is a member of the Ordre des administrateurs agréés du Québec.

Erica Barbosa Vargas, Director

Global Head of Sustainable Finance & Innovation at SecondMuse Capital since 2021, she works to engage global investors in building inclusive economies of the future. Previously, Erica was Director of Solutions Finance at The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, where she led strategies for financial innovation and for integration of the Foundation’s financial assets to support social and economic system’s transformation. She also has a global professional experience in the private sector and international development, primarily in Latin America, Canada and the UK. She holds a MPA in Public and Economic Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and completed an  undergraduate studies in behavioural psychology and neuroscience. Co-founder of Educating the Streets-Building Society in Bolivia, she sits on Advisory Boards of various investment funds in Canada, and of organizations working in social innovation globally.

Photo de Erica Barbosa Vargas, membre du conseil d'administration de la Maison de l'innovation sociale

Gerardo Almaguer, Director

Gerardo Almaguer holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico, and a master’s degree in Administration from Tecnológico de Monterrey. He began his career in 1993 as an analyst at Nacional Financeria. In 1996, he joined the Guanajuato State Civil Service as Quality Manager. In 2001, he joined Développement international Desjardins (DID) in Mexico, where he started as a financial advisor. He then worked as a consultant for DID until 2005, when he was appointed Project Manager. Between 2009 and 2013, he worked for DID projects in Panama, where he was first an entrepreneurial credit advisor and then General Manager of the Panama Entrepreneur Financial Center. In 2013, he moved to Quebec where he worked as a business finance advisor before leaving for Colombia as a field manager between 2014 and 2015. Upon his return, he was assigned as a project manager before being appointed Senior Director of DID’s Agricultural Finance and Food Security division. Since January 2019, Mr. Almaguer has served as DID’s president and CEO.

The MIS’s Board of Directors also includes two observer members: Jane Rabinowicz, Chief Program Officer at the McConnell Foundation and Francesco Miele, Executive Vice President of the Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation.