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Kelly VanKoughnet

Kelly VanKoughnet

Faculty, Coach

Early in her career, she followed the traditional academic path to a PhD in Neuroscience from Harvard University before embarking on her first major career transition. After embracing the reality that she was always far more excited about other people’s research than her own, she found her new niche as an administrator, leader and collaborator, primarily serving the higher education, science and research sector.  Kelly enjoyed a 18+ year career as a research administrator, senior government executive (Associate Vice-President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research) and science-based, not-for-profit leader (Vice-President, Corporate Affairs, Council of Canadian Academies) before making her second major career transition to her current role as an Executive Coach, consultant, writer and small business owner. This latest transition has allowed Kelly to fully embrace the fact that she has always been most inspired and gratified when supporting others (and in particular, fellow science and science policy junkies) in defining and achieving their own personal variations of success.

Kelly is well known as an authentic leader with a reputation for pragmatism, keen listening skills and the courage to engage respectfully in tough but necessary conversations. Her executive leadership experience has included deep dives into real-world organizational and interpersonal dynamics. Kelly’s extensive knowledge and experience of both academia and government – including their unique cultures and institutions – allow her to bring a rich contextual understanding to her work. She is also in possession of a wicked sense of humour, an asset that has proven invaluable throughout her career.

​She holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University, a Masters in Medical Sciences (M.MSc.) from Harvard Medical School, a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto, and a Certificate in Executive Coaching from Royal Roads University. She holds ACC certification from the International Coach Federation (ICF).