Meet Our Amazing Team
Our entire team is standing by to inspire all of our customers and participants to live healthier every day.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Jeff is a health innovator and serial entrepreneur who is passionate about shifting the focus of health care from sick care to keeping people healthy. He holds a joint Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and Schulich School of Business in Toronto. Jeff received his bachelor’s degree from Western University in London, Ontario.
Chief Growth and Operating Officer
Lara is a dynamic leader who believes in the strength of team, the power of authentic communication, and the impact of positive energy on innovation. As chief growth and operating officer at Newtopia, she leads the company in expanding market share, creating products, services, and experiences that delight clients and drive results. Over the past 20 years, Lara’s core value has been community leadership, speaking on topics such as women in leadership, technology, career navigation and personal development. Lara is a proven entrepreneurial leader across multi-industries. Lara earned a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of South Africa.
Bill Van Wyck
Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product
Bill is a healthcare entrepreneur and technology executive with deep expertise in the commercialization of technology-enabled service platforms. Throughout his career, he has leveraged technology to innovate in industries as diverse as healthcare, e‑commerce, shipping and logistics, and transportation. Bill has been featured in publications such as Entrepreneur, Inc., Fortune, Forbes, BusinessWeek, the Wall Street Journal, and Business 2.0.
Senior Vice President, Commercial
Mark is an experienced sales executive with a 30-year track record of business growth across various sectors of the healthcare industry. In his current position, he oversees efforts to bring Newtopia’s proven habit change provider solution to employers and other strategic partners. Mark earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Lenoir Rhyne University in North Carolina and holds a Certified Medicare Secondary Payer Professional credential and a North Carolina Life and Health insurance license.
Chief Financial Officer
Edmond Lem has over 25 years of financial accounting and reporting experience for both public and private companies. Having joined Newtopia in October 2018, Mr. Lem has served in several senior financial roles within the Company, including as Corporate Controller as well as Interim Chief Financial Officer from March to November 2020 during a critical time for Newtopia in which he played a significant role in helping take the Company public on the TSX Venture Exchange (the “TSXV”). Prior to Newtopia, Mr. Lem served as the controller of a TSXV listed technology company, Spectra7 Microsystems, Inc., a semiconductor manufacturer. Mr. Lem earned a degree in Commerce from the University of Toronto and has a professional accounting designation (CPA, CA).
Michele Dodds, Psy.D.
Senior Vice President, Client and Participant Success
Michele’s focus on helping others develop healthy lifestyles has spanned over 20 years. She currently leads the teams that manage client relationships and participant experiences. Her past leadership positions have included operations, client relations and product roles for companies in the disease prevention, wellness, and health markets, including CVS Health. Michele earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and a doctorate in clinical psychology with a focus on health behavior change from the California School of Professional Psychology.
Senior Vice President, Marketing
Rikki is a talented marketing and communications leader. She was instrumental in developing Newtopia’s brand and building the company’s hyper-personalized habit change platform. She even served as the company’s first Inspirator. She has deep insight into what motivates and inspires Newtopia’s participants to live healthier every day. Rikki earned an Honours BSc from Western University in London, Canada, and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada.
Chief Information, Privacy and Security Officer
Peter is a seasoned IT, security, and privacy professional with over 30 years of experience in the industry. He is responsible for Newtopia’s technology infrastructure, privacy, and security. He has expertise in developing and implementing successful technology and business protection strategies with a focus and strength in healthcare, financial services, and high transactional processing within national and international organizations. Peter received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Natasha Vani, B.Sc, M.Sc, ND
Director, Exercise and Nutrition
Karyn Hood, PhD, CPsych
Director, Behavioral Sciences
Gilles Lapointe, PhD, Genetics
Louis Pèrusse, PhD, Genetics
Our Advisory Board
Greg Steinberg, MD
Former Head of Clinical Innovation at Aetna
Dr. Greg Steinberg is a seasoned physician executive who is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Cardiology with substantial experience in varied healthcare settings. He began his career as the associate director of medicine and director of medical education at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, a major teaching affiliate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Steinberg later went on to become the chief medical officer and later the chief executive officer at ActiveHealth Management (AHM), a startup population health management and clinical decision support company. After AHM was purchased in 2005 by Aetna, Steinberg was the first head of clinical innovation where he built a new clinical research and development capability that rigorously evaluates novel care management and digital health solutions by subjecting them to well designed, real world pilots with clearly pre-defined success metrics, including clinical outcomes, utilization and costs.
Head of Global Total Rewards, JLL
Hassan Azar has over 25 years of experience as a leader and innovator in global corporate benefits programs and advisor to healthcare companies. He has successfully led several corporate health and benefit programs, including his current role as head of global total rewards at Jones Lang LaSalle. He has served in similar roles for other large corporations including at US Foods, Mondelez International, Kraft Foods, Delphi Automotive and The Ford Motor Company. Hassan has worked as a healthcare consultant with Towers Perrin and has held management roles at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit, Mich. He is a member of the Health Affairs Journal Council on Health Care Spending and Value and serves as an advisor to the Employer Health Innovation Roundtable. He has an MHA, MBA, MA, and a BA from the University of Michigan, and a JD from the University of Detroit School of Law.
Chief Growth Officer, ZOOM+Care
Mike Payne has a 20-year career in healthcare, working across almost every sector and with companies of all sizes. He is known as an innovator in the commercialization of evidence-based, digitally-empowered health interventions. Payne is currently the chief growth officer at ZOOM+Care, responsible for market-share and revenue growth. Prior to ZOOM+Care, he was vice president of health strategy and business development for Ancestry, overseeing development of long-term health genomics strategy as well as formation of partnerships that enhance the AncestryHealth product portfolio. Prior to Ancestry, Payne was the head of commercial and policy at Virta Health, whose online clinic provides the first treatment proven to reverse Type 2 diabetes without medications or surgery. Prior to Virta, he created and grew the commercial strategy and operations of Omada Health, the country’s largest digital diabetes prevention program. Payne previously worked at Gilead Sciences and McKinsey & Company and holds an MBA from Stanford Business School as well as an MSci in Health Services Research from Stanford Medical School.
Executive Director, Clinical Analytics at Aetna
Claire Spettell is an experienced healthcare analytics leader passionate about improving health care outcomes through advanced analytics. With over 30 years’ experience in data science and analytics, Claire is skilled at turning data into meaningful business insights and demonstrations of value. Claire most recently was the executive director of clinical analytics at Aetna and has been a critical asset to their success over the past 23 years. Prior to Aetna, Claire served as associate research professor at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and as the research director at Mediplex Rehab-Camden. Claire earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology at City University of New-York Brooklyn College and her PhD in Psychology at Stony Brook University.
Ms. Nancy Cocozza served as President of the Medicare Business for Aetna, where she was responsible for Aetna’s Medicare strategy, growth and operating results; she led a team that, at the time of her retirement, served more than 4 million Medicare members nationwide through a robust portfolio of Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare prescription drug plans and Medicare Supplement plans. Prior to Aetna, Ms. Cocozza was Executive Vice President at HealthMarkets, an individual market health insurance provider, where she led the Medicare division. She also led the government insurance programs at Coventry Health Care. Ms. Cocozza began her career at Aetna, where she spent 16 years building and leading various commercial managed care operations. Ms. Cocozza holds a B.S. degree in accounting from Philadelphia University.