Home Month and Year October 2023 Junior Achievement Northern Alberta & N.W.T. Announces CEO

Junior Achievement Northern Alberta & N.W.T. Announces CEO


Junior Achievement Northern Alberta and N.W.T. is pleased to announce that Cheryll Watson has accepted the role of CEO.

“We’re thrilled to have Cheryll Watson take on the role of CEO at Junior Achievement. She brings an incredible background and a wealth of experience with her. Cheryll’s connectivity to the entrepreneur and innovation ecosystem, particularly her most recent work with the next generation of learners and future leaders, is one of the key reasons she was our top choice. On behalf of the Board of Directors, please join us in welcoming her,” says Shad Smereka, Board Chair, Junior Achievement Northern Alberta & N.W.T.

Cheryll has dedicated her career to building sustainable environments for talent to thrive centred around prioritizing the entrepreneur. From her time at INTUIT contributing to their global expansion to her work with students at STEM Collegiate, she brings a wealth of knowledge, connectivity and experience to this role.

“I’m eager to roll up my sleeves and join the incredible team at JA. I am passionate about our next generation of leaders and will work to ensure their impact in communities throughout northern Alberta is tangible. I recognize the long legacy and lasting impact JA has not only for our local chapter, but nationally and globally. I look forward to building on the immense success this organization has had,” she notes.

Cheryll Watson built a career as an international business executive, bringing 20+ years of experience in strategic business transformation, economic development and collaborative community building in the private and public sectors. Her early background in technology began at IBM in the late 1990s.

In 2015, Cheryll left Intuit. Recognizing the need to catalyze our future economy, she joined the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation and founded Innovate Edmonton (now Edmonton Unlimited).

Cheryll believes in the need for a strong local entrepreneur and innovation ecosystem and has contributed in several key roles:


  • Co-founder and Co-Chair of the Alberta Innovation Corridor Partnership
  • Founding Steering Committee member for the Edmonton Regional Innovation Network
  • Member of the Business Council of Alberta’s Tech, Innovation and Telecom Sector Advisory Board, providing advice and policy recommendations to the Alberta Premier’s office
  • Co-Chair of the Startup Genome Global Senior Policymaker Forum, a group of innovation ecosystem experts from around the world
  • A mentor in the Threshold Impact Venture Mentor Program


Cheryll was the first of 11 candidates that stepped forward to run for Mayor in the 2021 Edmonton Mayoral Election. She is a founding member of the Downtown Recovery Coalition and recently led the successful and recent opening of STEM Collegiate, a new public charter school in Edmonton focused on science, technology, engineering and math.

Cheryll, her husband Geoff and their four adult children actively contribute to causes and issues that have directly impacted their family lives, or will in the future, including: mental health, education and environmental causes.