Bill Tam stepping away from Digital Supercluster

Tam is a founder member of the organization and a fixture of B.C.’s tech community.

Tam joined the founding team of the Digital Supercluster in 2017 after a half-decade with BC Tech. Photo Credit: CBC Radio Canada.

This article was updated on October 12 to include comments from Tam.

A founding member of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is stepping away. Bill Tam, effective September 30, has decided to leave the B.C. organization.“Bill has been a hard-working and dedicated member of the Supercluster team and we are proud of the Supercluster’s accomplishments over the past four years, grateful to Bill for his participation in our success, and we wish him the best in his next steps,” said CEO Sue Paish in an email.

What exactly is the Digital Supercluster?

Well, “ahead of the curve” starts there. Translated, the Digital Supercluster is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping others develop, pilot, and scale digital technologies for the benefit of Canadians and Canadian enterprises. It does this by mobilizing R&D industry investment, advancing world-class digital solutions that are backed by Canadian IP assets, and growing digitally skilled technical and leadership talent. This includes, for example, Wellbeing.AI, a $20 million dollar project led by the Supercluster that launched in July 2021. The project developed a digital platform for people to better understand their physical and mental health through interactions with virtual agents. The Supercluster acted as the project’s catalyst, wrangling A-list partners such as Lululemon and Microsoft.

This mandate made Tam a natural fit upon its 2017 launch.

For decades, Tam has been a fixture of B.C.’s tech community. Executive roles across martech and software segued nicely into a robust stint with the BC Tech Association. First, Tam was CEO in residence for Centre4Growth, BC Tech’s venture services and a one-on-one coaching program. He then filled the big chair, acting as BC Tech’s president and CEO from July 2011 to November 2017 — the year he took his talents to the Supercluster.

Now, the Digital Supercluster looks to the future Tam envisioned.

"There has been real success and impact around scaling [...] strong innovation ecosystems. The intent of the next phase is to build on that momentum and raise the ambition in the collaboration step of what we would invest in," Tam said at the Supercluster’s Town Hall held July 26. Now, it’ll be up to Paish, Chief Investment Officer Karen McClure, and VP of Foresight and Talent Development Shawn Gervais, to carry on that legacy without him. There are more programs to catalyze and investments to make, after all.

“We are very excited about the future for our Supercluster and look forward to working and engaging with you as we continue to grow and evolve this amazing organization and the positive impacts we are bringing to Canadian companies and to Canada,” said Paish.

Tam has been “pursuing the art of the possible.”

But now, he says, it’s time for some R&R. In a LinkedIn post, Tam detailed that the departure will allow him to take some much-needed time off. He also reflected on the half-decade he spent building the organization.”Most of all I want to thank our Supercluster team for reminding me every day that there is nothing that we cannot do, and the pursuit is as important as the outcome,” he wrote. “As the proverb goes, ‘If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ Together, we have gone far.”

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