Claudette McGowan

Toronto, Ontario

Claudette McGowan is a Canadian business executive, information technology leader, and cybersecurity expert. Best known as the CEO of Protexxa, a cybersecurity software and services company, McGowan is also the co-founder of The Firehood, an investment network and angel fund catering to women in the tech field. In the past, she has held senior positions with TD Bank, BMO Financial Group, and Deloitte. Beyond her professional pursuits, Claudette McGowan is also heavily involved in the nonprofit advocacy sector as the creator of the Black Arts & Innovation Expo and the Chair of the Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism (CILAR).

Early life

Growing up in Toronto, Ontario, Claudette McGowan held up her mother, a nurse who strongly believed in helping others, as a mentor and role model. From a young age, she displayed a fascination with computers, gadgets, and technology, interests which would inform her career choices as the years passed. After graduating from high school, McGowan attended Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree.


Claudette McGowan began her career as Technology Manager at Deloitte in 1995. After excelling in that role for five years, she accepted a position as Technology Director – Enterprise Desktop, Messaging & Trading Services with BMO Financial Group. At BMO,

she built up her bona fides, earning a promotion to Vice President of Digital Workspace Services in 2012, and eventually becoming the Chief Information Officer for Enterprise Technology Employee Experience in 2018. In 2020, she joined TD Bank as the Global Executive Officer for Protect Fusion & Cyber Experience, where she was instrumental in enhancing the bank’s cybersecurity infrastructure.

Two years later, Claudette McGowan was offered the role Chief Executive Officer of Protexxa, which she accepted and holds to this day. Protexxa is an advanced cybersecurity software and services company whose clients range from nation states to corporate giants of the healthcare industry.

Long known as a passionate advocate for diversity, inclusion, and community empowerment, in 2016, Claudette McGowan founded the Black Arts & Innovation Expo, an annual event that celebrates Black History Month by showcasing the achievements of Black professionals in the arts, technology, and business. McGowan is also the Chair of the Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism, which is a group of senior business leaders committed to fighting systemic racism, particularly within the innovation economy. She also holds multiple board and council appointments, including roles with the SickKids Hospital Foundation, the Elevate Technology Festival, and the Women in the Economy Task Force.

Over the course of her career, Claudette McGowan has been the recipient of several prestigious awards and accolades. In 2014, she was given Green4Good’s ‘Visionary Award’. In 2019, Toronto Life recognized her as one of the city’s Top 50 Most Influential Torontonians. That same year, she was named one of the ‘Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada’ by the Women’s Executive Network. In 2020, she was honoured by the Jamaican Canadian Association at their 20th International Women’s Day event for her groundbreaking work in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

In 2019, she moderated a conversation with Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama at the Elevate Festival in Toronto. This sold-out event was attended by over 3,000 people and was cited as one of the most insightful discussions of that year’s festival.

Apart from her BA from Lakehead University, Claudette McGowan has amassed an impressive number of advanced academic credentials. She earned certification in Project Management from York University’s Schulich School of Business in 2007, certification in Information Technology from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in 2008, and certifications in Advanced Leadership and Artificial Intelligence in 2010 and 2018, respectively, both from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She also completed an MBA from Athabasca University in 2011 and was given an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Carleton University in 2022.

Net Worth



Receiving the ‘Visionary Award’ from Green4Good in 2014.
Being recognized as one of the ‘Women of Honour’ by the Black Business and Professional Association in 2015.
Founding the Black Arts & Innovation Expo in 2016.
Being listed as one of the ‘Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada’ by Women’s Executive Network in 2018.
Being named one of the ‘Top 50 Most Influential Torontonians’ by Toronto Life in 2019.
Moderating a conversation with Michelle Obama at the Elevate Festival in 2019.
Being honoured by the Jamaican Canadian Association at their 20th International Women’s Day event in 2020.
Receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Carleton University in 2022.