2018 Winner
Wise 50 Over 50 Award™

Debbie & Melissa Pinard – InitLive


I have 39 years of experience in high-tech and communications and am a recognized software architect and inventor, with over 50 granted patents. My past roles have included Software Designer, Product Manager, Director of Strategic Technology, VP of Innovation and CEO.

In 2013, I was 55 and my daughter Melissa was 23. We were both working for Wesley Clover, an investment firm in next-generation Cloud and SaaS applications and services. In the past, Melissa had served as a volunteer manager at the YMCA. Together we had an idea for a product that would use smart phones and the cloud to make it easier for event planners to manage their volunteers and staff.

Statistics showed that 30% of volunteers were no-shows on event day and they had to rely on printed material to update schedules and a handful of walkie-talkies to communicate with.

We knew we could solve this problem by removing the need for these outdated tools. Using the cloud, we could provide a web service to create events, including custom roles and self-serve scheduling and provide reporting post-event. For event day, we could provide a mobile device app that would include a real-time communication system and a comprehensive scheduling service for up to the minute scheduling changes.

Wesley Clover agreed to fund us, and InitLive was born.

To date we have helped run over 450 events in 26 different countries, including the World Economic Forum, the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Ottawa 2017 used InitLive to manage the 2,000 volunteers needed for the sesquicentennial events. We have won awards for event technology from the UK, Spain, Germany, the UAE and the United States.