OceansAdvance Board Member
Director, Economic Development, Culture and Partnerships, City of St. John's
Director, Economic Development, Culture and Partnerships
elawrence@stjohns.ca

In my role with the City of St. John’s I work with a small team to conceptualize, develop and deliver programs and services in support of the economic development in the capital city, city region and province. I also have previous experience in corporate strategic planning, stakeholder engagement and partnership development.

I offer a wealth of experience in conceiving and building partnerships with public, private and post secondary institutions to develop and deliver projects. An example being the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation, in which I worked with public, private funding agencies, craft industry and community association to develop the facility which is a nurturing environment supporting the incubation of craft artisans and serves as a tourism product for the city and province.

I am an advisor to mayor, council and executive in matters relating to economic development.

I previously held several other similar director roles at City of St. John’s. Prior to work experience at City of St. John’s I worked in policy and programming positions with government of Newfoundland and Labrador and provincial economic development crown corporations.

My interest in OceansAdvance stems from early days in my career. I began working in the ocean/marine sector starting with summer work terms – at Department of Fisheries and Oceans and upon graduation from Memorial University I completed contract work with the Marine Institute. This exposure instilled in me an interest in all things ocean industry.

Early in the creation of OceansAdvance I worked closely with the then Executive Director to craft the Partnership program Ocean Technology Speaker Series between the City of St. John’s and OceansAdvance which after many years OceansAdvance embraced and delivered as one of their regular offerings. Around the same time, I participated as a member of the National Research Council’s Institute for Ocean Technology Community Advisory Committee.

Recognizing the importance and potential of the growing ocean technology community about a decade ago, the City created an “oceans-focused” marketing program, supplemented with a conference attraction initiative and technology media program and this afforded me opportunities to speak about our work in oceans profiling at several local, national and international events.
In many ways we may have been ahead of our time in terms of initiating efforts to position the city and province as a national and international competitor in the ocean technology realm.

Over the past two to three years, we have been working with partners in government and industry alongside Global Affairs Canada, Invest in Canada and Destination Canada in their efforts to support to investment to St. John’s and Newfoundland and Labrador – with a key focus area being related to ocean and marine industries. This year we will be hosting a niche and boutique event, Innovate Canada, with an ocean industry theme – an outcome from a community collaborative bid.