George Roter

Senior Advisor to the CEO


George is a highly regarded not-for-profit and business leader, known for his ability to foster innovation through the start-up and operation of effective, inspiring and diverse initiatives in Canada and abroad.

He began his career co-founding and serving as CEO of Engineers Without Borders Canada, a leading innovation, advocacy and skills development NGO. Under his leadership for 14 years, EWB Canada grew into an organization of thousands of young leaders and engineers in Canada and across Africa. The organization invested in system-changing ideas to end poverty and inequitable development globally, and influenced engineering practice and education in Canada to bring a more global and sustainable development mindset in the mainstream.

He then took on the challenge of advancing open internet technologies globally as Director of Open Innovation Programs at Mozilla. In this role he led a variety of product and project teams to help the company realize "openness" as a business strategy. One of his highlights at Mozilla was the development of Common Voice, a project that mixed corporate collaboration with inspiring hundreds of thousands of language enthusiasts to contribute their voice to build the world’s largest open voice dataset across more than 50 languages. This is now used by globally leading technology companies to train speech recognition engines for their products.

Drawing from these and other experiences George has impacted a number of other issues by serving as mentor, strategic advisor and consultant to several organizations, and through his writings and speaking engagements.

George is an Ashoka Fellow (2011), was awarded the Young Leaders Award by the Public Policy Forum (2007), named as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 (2005), and was awarded an Action Canada Fellowship (2004) on public policy. He is humbled to have received the Meritorious Service Cross (Civil) in addition to four honorary Doctorate degrees (University of Waterloo, McMaster University, University of Calgary and Queen's University) along with a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Waterloo.

George’s life’s work sits at the confluence of organizational growth, technology and social change. He is at his best designing, growing and leading organizations and teams around powerful ideas. George takes pride in bridging perspectives, moving fluidly between the non-profit, business and government.
George is based in Toronto (returning recently after living in Berlin for 4 years), where he lives with his spouse Sari, daughter Aliyah and a Swiss Mountain Dog named Maple.