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Executive Team

Executive team members are Designated Public Office Holders for the purposes of the Lobbying Act.

Ted Hewitt, SSHRC President

Ted Hewitt was appointed president of SSHRC in March 2015. He served as the inaugural chair of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee from 2017 to 2019. Ted was vice-president, research and international relations, at Western University in London, Ontario, from 2004 to 2011, where he had been a professor of sociology since 1989. He was also a public policy scholar at the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. A leading authority on Brazil, Ted has published in monographs, edited works and a range of academic journals. In 2018, Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Relations named him Grand Officer of the Order of Rio Branco—one of the highest levels of merit—for the many years he has fostered bilateral business and research partnerships between Brazil and Canada.

Ted’s current research focuses on national and international innovation systems, with emphasis on the roles of universities, industry and government in promoting economic prosperity in Latin America and beyond. He is co-chair of the Canada-Brazil Joint Committee for Cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation, and a member of the board of the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce.

Ted holds a PhD in sociology from McMaster University.

Ursula Gobel, Vice-President, Stakeholder Engagement and Advancement of Society

Ursula Gobel was appointed vice-president, Stakeholder Engagement and Advancement of Society, at SSHRC in November 2019. In her role, Ursula provides strategic leadership to advance and mobilize social sciences and humanities research. Ursula guides the work of a dynamic team that is responsible for communications, strategic foresight, partnership development and engagement with stakeholders.

Ursula joined SSHRC in 2007 as director of communications. She led the development and implementation of strategic communications for SSHRC, as well as for several international programs, including the Canada Research Chairs and Canada Excellence Research Chairs programs, on behalf of Canada’s three federal research granting agencies. In 2014, Ursula was appointed associate vice-president, Future Challenges, and led strategic initiatives to advance the social sciences and humanities contributions toward meeting future, long-term societal challenges.

Ursula brings extensive experience in leadership and management across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, including at the National Gallery of Canada. She has been an active volunteer for numerous organizations, including the Institute for Public Administration of Canada, the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance, the Canadian Tourism Commission, and United Way.

Ursula holds executive leadership training from Queen’s University, as well as business and economics diplomas from Algonquin College and John Abbott College.

Valérie La Traverse, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs

Valérie La Traverse was appointed vice-president, Corporate Affairs, effective November 2021. She is responsible for overseeing corporate policy and strategy, performance, evaluation and audit functions, as well as international engagement.

She joins SSHRC from Global Affairs Canada (GAC), where she spent most of her professional career, recently returning to Ottawa after four years as head of the commercial section at the Canadian Consulate in Boston. Prior to her role there, Valérie held several key positions as part of Canada’s science and technology community, serving as science and technology counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Washington from 2005 to 2010; deputy and executive director in GAC’s international science, technology and innovation partnerships and agreements group; and head of policy research and outreach at GAC, where she co-launched the International Policy Ideas Challenge with SSHRC in 2015. She also served as a key member of the secretariat for the Fundamental Science Review in 2016. Earlier in her career, Valérie was the executive director of the New England-Canada Business Council.

Valérie holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from McGill University and a master’s in business administration in international business from Concordia University.

Dominique Osterrath, Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President, Common Administrative Services Directorate

Dominique Osterrath joined SSHRC’s Common Administrative Services Directorate (CASD) in July 2021, where she leads a team of professionals who work to support both SSHRC and NSERC in delivering human resources, finance and awards administration, security, and information and innovation solutions. As the lead CASD executive, Dominique supports the accountability of the agency presidents by ensuring CASD’s effectiveness as a strategic partner, business enabler, steward and service provider.

Prior to her appointment, Dominique was chief financial officer, chief security officer, and vice-president, Corporate Management Branch, at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). In previous appointments, she was deputy chief financial officer and executive director, Financial Services, at CFIA; deputy chief financial officer and director general, Finance and Awards Administration, for SSHRC and NSERC; and director, Financial Planning, Budgeting and Advisory Services, at the National Research Council Canada.

Dominique is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA). She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Université du Québec en Outaouais, and is a graduate of the Public Sector Leadership and Governance executive program at the University of Ottawa.

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