The University of New Brunswick’s Pond-Deshpande Centre, or PDC, has named Katie Davey, a former executive at Ottawa-based think tank Public Policy Forum, as its new executive director.

Davey holds a political science degree from UNB and a Master of Applied Politics degree from Wilfrid Laurier University that she earned in 2020. She worked at Public Policy Forum for three years, during which time she became Director of Policy and PPF Media, the latter of which is an organizational unit she built from the ground up.

She also created the think tank’s Atlantic Initiative, which aims to foster a “sustainable, technology-based knowledge economy to increase living standards for all Atlantic Canadians.” And last year, she won social impact investing trade publication Future of Good’s Young Impact Leader award for her work developing the PPF podcast.

“Over the next three years, my goal will be to collaborate and accelerate positive change in our community,” said Davey in a statement.

“By building on the success of the PDC to date, the centre is well-positioned to be a national leader in social entrepreneurship and innovation, and with a global network through the Deshpande Foundation, the potential impact of PDC is exponential. I hope to catalyse that with the help of others.”

Davey has also published research about Canada’s childcare workforce and the sustainability of the local news industry.

She replaces outgoing executive director Karina LeBlanc, who held the role for nearly 11 years and left in September to join Saule Wellness, a mental health services company that works with corporate clients, governments and community groups.

Until January, LeBlanc was also a board member at Public Policy Forum.

Davey’s appointment comes about eight months after the Pond-Deshpande Centre announced it was pivoting from a philanthropically funded business model to a revenue-driven one.

The centre was founded with money from Mariner Partners Chairman Gerry Pond and Desh Deshpande, president of his Sparta Group family office and chairman of Indian computer networking company Tejas Networks, as well as funding from the provincial government and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

A key part of the new business model Davey will oversee is the revival of the centre’s B4Change accelerator, which originally focused on social ventures and will now be aimed at non-profits