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Ilona Dougherty

Leading Expert on Young People I Researcher, University of Waterloo I Award-Winning Social Innovator

Ilona Dougherty
Wired for Innovation
Can2020 Panel: How Young Employees Contribute to Innovation
Ilona Dougherty
Wired for Innovation
Can2020 Panel: How Young Employees Contribute to Innovation

Businesses, organizations, and governments looking to succeed in the innovation economy and attract and retain young talent, turn to Ilona Dougherty. Her engaging and insightful presentations draw on neuroscience and developmental psychology to distill the unique abilities of today’s youth and how leaders can best support and engage young talent in their workplace.

Dougherty is an award-winning social innovator and a respected researcher often featured in the media as the co-creator and managing director of the Youth and Innovation Project at the University of Waterloo. She has extensive leadership and governance experience having co-founded and led several organizations. This includes Apathy is Boring, a Canadian non-partisan social enterprise that Dougherty co-founded at the age of 23 to educate youth about democracy and encourage them to vote.

Named one of the “Top 100 Most Powerful Women” in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network in 2015, Dougherty was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, a Global Ashoka Fellowship in 2009, and a Yukon Women’s Award at the age of 19. She is currently a PhD student in political science at the University of Waterloo where her research focuses on how policy, strategy, and programs touch the lives of young people.

Speaking topics

Presentations listed below include in-person and virtual keynotes, as well as workshops, fireside chats, and other presentation formats.

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Client reviews

  • The feedback we received was tremendous; Ilona’s presentation opened people’s eyes.

  • We are not only happy that Ilona Dougherty came to speak on this important topic, but she is also an excellent example of an intelligent, energetic, young leader working hard to make a difference in our country.

  • With practical examples, research and humour, Ilona’s combination of insight and analysis brought our understanding of young adult engagement to a whole new level. So many people know that engaging young people is a critical issue, but Ilona allowed us to understand the Why and How of young adult engagement.

  • We are grateful to have had someone of your expertise and credentials to address our group about engaging youth. It was a terrific presentation.

  • Both our current (and future) students were inspired by your talk, and I’ve had several students approach me directly after the event and indicate that they were first timid, but are now inspired to take action on what they care about (yeah!).

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