The executive spearheading global expansion efforts at Ottawa’s biggest software firm and one of the capital’s best-known HR leaders are among the 2020 recipients of Algonquin College’s Alumni of Distinction Awards.
Shopify vice-president of growth Luc Levesque and Invest Ottawa vice-president of human resources Heidi Hauver are two of 11 honourees who’ve been recognized for their significant contributions to the community, the college said this week.
Levesque, 45, was hired to head up Shopify’s international growth team earlier this year. A 1995 graduate of Algonquin’s computer engineering program, he’s worked with some of tech’s biggest names in a 25-year career that includes stints at Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor.
Levesque, who's being recognized in the Alumni of the Year technology category, began his entrepreneurial career by founding TravelPod, a travel blog acquired by Expedia in 2001.
He went on to act as a growth adviser at Twitter, Quora and Pinterest, worked as general manager and then vice-president of growth at TripAdvisor and most recently served as a senior director of Facebook in Palo Alto, Calif.
The 2008 recipient of OBJ’s Forty Under 40 Award credits Algonquin with helping to launch his path to success.
'Stoked my passion'
“The internet was just getting started and every year there was something new that could be done with it,” he told the college in a recent interview. “I was really passionate about technology and the college certainly stoked my passion and laid the foundation for my future learning.”
Meanwhile, Hauver has become one of the capital’s top HR executives in a two-decade career that’s seen her amass a slew of industry accolades. She's receiving the Alumni of the Year award in the business category.
Before joining Invest Ottawa in 2017, Hauver made her mark at several other prominent Ottawa organizations.
She built the HR department at the non-profit Canadian Internet Registration Authority from the ground up and later spent half a dozen years as vice-president of human resources at IT services firm Pythian, expanding the department from one person to 20. She then went on to become a managing partner at talent search agency Keynote Group, which was named one of Ottawa’s fastest-growing companies by OBJ in 2018 and 2019.
Active community volunteer
A 2012 Forty Under 40 recipient, Hauver also volunteers her time with a variety of local organizations, including Women in Communications and Technology, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.
Hauver, who worked full-time while earning certificates in applied management (2005) and human resources management (2007) at Algonquin, said she enjoyed the dual roles of student and businesswoman.
“Going back to school let me combine ongoing real-world business experience with the academic side and actually practise what I was learning on the job,” she told the college recently.
“I wanted to get into a purposeful role that would allow me to do the work I’m passionate about, which is the transformational side of HR.”
Other recipients of this year’s honours include the Ottawa Hospital (Alumni Employer of the Year) and Ian Millar, a 2008 Olympic silver medallist in team show jumping (Alumnus of the Year).