MEET OUR 2024 SPEAKERS

NICOLE ARCHIBALD , CPA, CA, HBA

Nicole has been providing Fractional Chief Financial Officer services including financial consulting and executive leadership to small and mid-sized private companies in the London, Ontario, and surrounding area since 2017.

 

Nicole’s financial expertise has been built over 30+ years as CFO of a private company, VP Finance of a public company, fractional CFO, auditor at EY and Director/Chair of various Not for Profit Boards.

 

Nicole currently works with a handful of small private companies to assist with various strategic, organizational and financial initiatives.  She has been actively involved with FEI leadership at the National and Chapter levels for over 15 years.

LARRY BROWNOFF , FCPA, FCA

Larry’s career journey demonstrates an evolution from corporate finance to the world of professional financial staffing and now into member relations at CPA Alberta. His tenure as VP Finance & Administration at Inventronics Limited honed his financial leadership skills, while his transition to Robert Half allowed him to explore his passion for connecting professionals with the right opportunities. Now, as Director of Member Relations at CPA Alberta, Larry’s diverse background equips him to foster valuable connections within the industry, leveraging his extensive network and financial expertise to drive the organization and support the members of both CPA Alberta and FEI Canada.

ALYSIA CARTER -Chair of the Board

Alysia, as a strategic thinker with exceptionally high energy, inspires all those around her.  She supports the organizations she works with to ensure people fully develop to their potential and beyond.  It has been said that Alysia is an excellent mentor and coach.  As a result, Alysia has had significant success motivating teams and bringing people together to get the desired results.

 

Alysia’s business experience spans more than 25 years in various industries: construction and service; automotive; financial institutions; distribution; and food manufacturing.  The last 16 years have been spent in construction and trade services where she transformed how the business operated by understanding and working directly with front line personnel.  Alysia is enthusiastic about trade services as she wants to ensure clients maintain their uptime.

 

While her experience is based in finance, her functional areas of expertise include long range strategic planning, transformational change, business acquisitions and divestitures, integration, accounting and information technology. 

 

In December of 2020 Alysia completed the acquisition of Reliable Mechanical Services Inc. based in Bolton Ontario servicing the Greater Toronto Area for HVAC needs.  Since then, the company has expanded the number of technicians and expanded into plumbing.

 

Alysia has used her considerable teaching skills as an instructor at her alma mater, the University of Toronto, providing financial and business management training sessions for internal staff of the business organizations in which she’s been engaged.  A strong team player, Alysia has unbridled enthusiasm about transferring her knowledge and experience to others, and energetically supporting their professional and personal development.  Her passion is contagious as she shows them what is possible.

 

“I have met many people networking the past several years, and Alysia is one that truly stands out above the rest.  Those who have worked for her have expressed to me that her visionary leadership and collaborative approach in managing projects and operations not only gains their respect, admiration and appreciation but also contributes to an efficient and productive workplace.  Personally, I have never met anyone with the positive energy that Alysia possesses and who is so capable in bringing people together, assessing a situation and then implementing a solution.” Gil Darnley, CPA, CMA, PMP, BA

 

She is a board member and Chair of Financial Executives International (FEI) at the National Board level, on the Finance and Audit Committee of FEI, on the Executive Committee of FEI, a mentor in the CPA Canada program, a past Board member and President of Financial Executives International at the Toronto level and a past Co-Chair of the annual Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto Gala fundraiser.

 

Alysia was born and raised in the Greater Toronto area.  She enjoys spending time with her husband at their cottage with their two grown children and their partners. 

LEANNE CLARKE

Leanne Clarke works as a Chief Financial Officer, IBM Canada at IBM, which is a Business Services company with an estimated 282.2 K employees; and founded in 1911. They are part of the Finance team within the Finance Department and their management level is C-Level. Leanne is currently based in Victoria, Canada.

DANNY CHIARASTELLA

Danny Chiarastella is a Finance Leader with Amplify Advisors Inc., a rapidly growing accounting and business consulting and recruiting firm. He acts as a fractional CFO for various private companies. Previously, he was the Head of Finance, Americas for 3P Learning, a global leader in online education, and the CFO of a publicly traded oil and gas services company. As a Chartered Professional Accountant with over 20 years in various senior finance roles, he has extensive experience in financial reporting and strategy, debt and equity financing, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, corporate tax, and treasury management.

 

Danny volunteers as the National Sponsorship Committee Chair for Financial Executives International (FEI) and is the former Board Chair of the CanLearn Society. He is a proud member of the University of Calgary alumni, where he earned a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting.

SHIVA DEAN

Shiva is an accomplished business leader with a strong background in international business. He has lived and worked in Singapore, Dubai and Oman, where he led regional teams for a global Fortune 100 company. Shiva has a wide range of experience across a number of industry sectors, including supply chain logistics, energy (nuclear, oil and gas, renewables, carbon capture and sequestration, entertainment, and hospitality. He is experienced in overseeing businesses that range from new start-ups to those generating over $240 million per year in revenue.

 

Shiva has a combined honours degree from Western University and has attended executive training programs from both the Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the Columbia Business School in New York City. He holds an ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors and currently serves as President of the board for the Friends of the Northern Alberta International Children’s Festival, as a board director with Habitat for Humanity Edmonton and holds a federally appointed position on the Board of the Nanaimo Port Authority.

MARK DELLER HBSC, MBA, CPA

  • A Managing Partner of ALTS Canada, a Risk and Logistics Tech company with a focus on risk and operational optimization & mitigation in the areas of Logistics, Supply Chain, Procurement and Transportation
  • An Advisor with a Private Equity VC Firm participating in early growth stage innovative companies.
  • An Advisor with a Canadian Junior Mining Company (Gold / Polymetallic)
  • 30 years experience in Tech, Finance & Operations (various sectors), Oil Field Services, Real Estate, Finance and Banking (AIG, Macquarie, GE Capital).
  • Partner in a boutique Business Advisor firm with a Business Development (Marketing/ Sales, Operational and CFO capacity) for SMBs
  • Past Chairs: SAIT Business / Accounting Advisory Committee; Past Advisory Committee: Information, Communications & Technology

CHAD DONARD

Chad is a Senior Managing Director at TriWest Capital Partners, a Calgary-based private equity firm that has raised over $1.7 billion of committed capital across seven funds. Chad is involved in all aspects of TriWest’s investing activities, sits on its investment committee and has participated as a director of numerous current and former TriWest portfolio companies (including on four current boards, two of which he chairs). Prior to joining TriWest in 2005, Mr. Danard worked at Morgan Stanley in the Global Energy and Utility Group in New York and in the Canada Group in Toronto. While at Morgan Stanley, Mr. Danard was involved in a variety of mergers and acquisitions-related strategic advisory assignments, equity offerings and debt financings. He received a Bachelor of Commerce degree (finance concentration) from the Queen’s University School of Business, where he graduated as the top ranked student in the program.

KEVIN DROZDOWSKI

Professional with extensive experience in:
• Risk analysis and insurance with a focus on financial modelling, strategic consulting and business development.
• Managing, developing, administering and maintaining relationships with sophisticated clients and at the executive level.

Specialties
• Strategic planning and business development skills
• Organization and leadership skills
• Combined strategic viewpoint with conscientious attention to detail
• Excellent communication, facilitation and presentation skills
• Creative problem solver
• Energetic team leader, member and individual contributor

JAN EDEN

For three decades, Jan has worked as a Think and Execute Differently Advisor for CEOs and CFOS. Through her abundance of firsthand experience, Jan has had the privilege of witnessing CEO naivety, lack of knowledge and understanding when hiring, based on title alone, a qualified CFO. This led Jan to develop her 21st Century CFO Executive Mindset and Masters of Business Intelligence (MBI) programs.

 

Jan is the Past President of the Association of Corporate Growth (ACG) Calgary Chapter and a Co-Founder of Bumble Bees Venture Capital.

TERRY FREEMAN

Terry Freeman is Head of Investments for ATB Private Equity, LP the private equity arm of ATB Financial, which makes minority equity investments in Alberta based private companies. In the past he served as Managing Director of Northern Plains Capital, a niche private equity firm specializing in growth oriented oilfield services and energy industrial investments.

 

Mr. Freeman also spent fifteen years as Chief Financial Officer of Flint Energy Services Ltd. and its predecessors, where he managed the financial and administrative operations of the company including investor and banking relations, risk management, mergers and acquisitions and various other executive responsibilities and its growth from $20M to over $2B in revenues. He spent five years on the Board of Flint following his tenure as Chief Financial Officer until its eventual sale. He currently sits on the boards of a number of public and private construction, energy services, private equity and real estate ventures., and has been involved in over one hundred investments, add-ons and divestitures of companies. Mr. Freeman has held multiple volunteer positions with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta, Chief Financial Officer Leadership Program, the University of Alberta, and various other community and charitable organizations.

 

Mr. Freeman graduated from the University of Alberta in 1982 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, is a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta and holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors. 

MORGAN HAMEL

Morgan is the President of MH Partners Inc., a boutique consulting firm adept at helping leaders and their organizations navigate a new era of moral polarization. With experience in corporate ethics (11 years in the ethics office of a large organization), academia (Master’s Degree in Applied Ethics from Utrecht University in the Netherlands) and ethical entrepreneurship (founded an ESG-centric ethical fashion marketing company that generated $1M in responsible sales in its first corporate year), Morgan offers clients a business-focused, ethics-rooted perspective on de-polarization that doesn’t exist elsewhere.

DAN HUGO

Dan Hugo is the Chief Financial and Strategy Officer at ATB Financial. ATB is an Alberta-based financial institution with more than $60 billion in assets. Dan has over 30 years of strategic, financial, operational, and business leadership experience. Dan spent most of his professional career in the United States where he gained extensive experience in banking, finance and technology while working for Bank of America, Capital One, eBay and Ernst and Young.

 

Originally from South Africa, Dan is a Chartered Accountant and Certified Public Accountant. Dan completed his Institute of Corporate Directors designation (ICD.D) and is currently on the Board of Governors of Norquest College and member of Edmonton’s Downtown Recovery Coalition.

ESPIT JAJAL

Epsit Jajal, MBA CPA CMA

Virtual CIO – Ricoh IT Services

 

Epsit brings 25+ years of leadership, business innovation, and digital transformation experience gained across a broad spectrum of industries via operational and leadership roles in finance, IT, consulting, public sector (all levels), service delivery, and professional services.

As Ricoh’s vCIO with experience in senior finance roles, Epsit provides innovative and nuanced leadership to our clients, develops digital roadmaps, designs and manages process optimization, and implements solutions that maximize client’s digital investments that enables achievement of their business goals.

Epsit has an MBA from the Ivey School of Business and is a licensed chartered professional accountant (CPA).  He also volunteers as a board member and mentor for organizations such as Achev, Centre for Education & Training, Change Foundation, Woodgreen Community Services, and Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council.

TERESA JANG

Theresa Jang is the executive vice president and chief financial officer for Stantec Inc. As CFO, Theresa oversees all aspects of Stantec’s global financial operations. She also chairs Stantec’s Executive ESG Committee, supporting the Company’s commitment to achieving its sustainability priorities, and previously served on the UN’s CFO Taskforce for the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Actively supporting the advancement of women’s leadership, Theresa served as a Steering Committee member for Women in Capital Markets (Calgary Chapter) for three years. She frequently serves as a panelist for diversity-focused forums and provides mentorship to young women professionals.

 

In fulfilling her strong commitment to her community,

 

Theresa serves on the STARS Air Ambulance Board of Directors.
Theresa holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Calgary and a Chartered Professional Accountant (Chartered Accountant) designation. In 2020, Theresa was awarded Fellowship status by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta in recognition of her achievements in her career and in the community.

 

Theresa was also recognized by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) as a 2022 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 award winner, which celebrates outstanding women who create meaningful change in the way they lead within their organizations and communities.

HOWARD JOHNSON

Dr. Howard E. Johnson, DBA, FCPA, FCA, FCMA, FCBV, CPA, CFA, ASA, CF, C.Dir. is the Canadian Market Leader and managing director in the M&A Advisory practice. Howard has been advising business owners, executives and corporate boards on acquisitions, divestitures, financing, fairness opinions and shareholder value matters for more than 20 years. He has completed numerous M&A transactions across various sectors, including consumer products, industrial products and services, and technology.

SHAWN KANUNGO

As a globally recognized innovation strategist and bestselling author, Shawn Kanungo works at the intersection of creativity, business, and technology. He spent 12 years at Deloitte working closely with leaders to help them better plan for the opportunities associated with disruptive innovation. In his high energy keynotes, Kanungo draws on his extensive experience to provide audiences with an optimistic roadmap for the future; one that embraces unexpected approaches to innovation to remain competitive and relevant.

 

Since leaving Deloitte, Kanungo has worked with hundreds of organizations on their journey to digital transformation. He’s led complex projects incorporating artificial intelligence, cloud technologies, behavioural economics, Web3, and more. Today, Kanungo is a Partner with Queen & Rook, where he advises leading organizations and executives on disruptive trends and invests in early-stage ventures.

 

Kanungo is the first innovation expert to have a streaming special, released on Apple TV and Prime Video in August 2023. It complements and shares the name of his bestselling debut book, The Bold Ones, a playbook for individuals to become bolder and push their careers and organizations forward. It has been touted as one of McKinsey’s top decision-making books for leaders. Kanungo’s work has also been featured in the Globe and Mail, The Guardian, CBC, and CTV.

 

A prolific content creator, Kanungo’s content on innovation has garnered millions of views across LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook. He’s been recognized by Edify magazine as one of their “Top 40 Under 40” and was called the “best virtual keynote speaker I’ve ever seen” by Forbes in 2021.

WINNIE LEUNG

As Chief Financial Officer, Winnie Leung is responsible for the overall financial strategy, reporting and Treasury operations of Moneris including making investment and borrowing decisions, providing financial analysis to support business goals, and assessing acquisition targets.

 

Winnie is a strategic, results-oriented leader with over 20 years of experience. Over the course of her career, she has led the development for improved reporting, corporate governance, operations, administration, and internal controls.

 

Prior to Moneris, Winnie was a KPMG Audit Partner, servicing the technology sector. Winnie worked closely with both public and early-stage companies to help build and manage their businesses.

 

Winnie graduated from the University of Waterloo with a B.A. in Accountancy Studies and a Masters of Accounting. She holds the Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant designation from the Province of Ontario and Certified Public Accountant designation from the State of Illinois. Winnie also founded the Inclusive Workplace Council and is the Executive Sponsor of Wellness@Moneris.

CAM LINKE

Cam Linke is a longtime leader in Edmonton’s technology and startup community. Over the past 10 years, he has worked as a CEO, investor, community builder, product manager, software entrepreneur, academic, and developer.

 

Past roles include Co-founder of Startup Edmonton, Founder of Flightpath Ventures, CEO of Touch Metric, Product Manager at Nexopia.com, and Founder of DemoCamp Edmonton. Linke is a sought-after speaker and mentor and has been recognized as Avenue Magazine Top 40 Under 40.

 

He holds a Master’s degree which was supervised by Dr. Richard Sutton and Dr. Adam White. His research, which focused on AI adapting behaviours to improve their own self-learning, has been published at top conferences.

SHEETAL MEHTA WALSH

Sheetal Mehta Walsh has extensive global executive leadership experience in investing, technology, and social enterprise. She is a founder, investor in several startups and serves on various boards. Currently she serves as CEO of the University of Alberta Innovation Fund, an AI fund focussed on health, energy and agriculture with a mission to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Highlights of her career include: serving as Chief Strategy Officer, Ministry for Jobs, Economy and Innovation, Gov’t of Alberta Canada; Deal Maker, UK Government’s Global Entrepreneur Programme where she facilitated 1 billion GBP in fundraising and mentored 900 global companies by presenting master classes in entrepreneurship in EMEA and the Americas; created and implemented the first Global VC Relations mission at Microsoft; President of Shanti Life a global microfinance not-for-profit assisting vulnerable people with financial literacy and entrepreneurial skill sets for sustainable living; Director, WestLB Investment Bank, UAE and Gulf Region.

 

She is a two-time TEDx speaker on entrepreneurship and has provided keynotes at the House of Lords (UK), Doha Forum, Berkeley Haas Business School, Stanford, University College Dublin and completed her MSc. at London School of Economics and her BA at the University of Alberta. In addition, she has attended MIT Management Sloan School and has received the ICD.D designation.

 

Sheetal, a Canadian and British citizen, has been recognized for social entrepreneurship by the now King of England, and Cherie Blair; Management Today Top 35 Under 35 UK; Women in Business by Her Majesty The Queen and Alumni Award of Excellence University of Alberta.

NAZIM MERALI

Effective and accountable in high profile executive roles: Overcome complex business challenges and make high stakes decisions using experience-backed judgment. Strong work ethic, irreproachable integrity. Respected as a proponent of empowerment and accountability.

Corporate Strategy and Development Specialist: Characterized as a visionary, strategist and tactician. Consistent record in delivering extraordinary results in growth, revenue and operational performance.

Consistently delivering mission critical results: Driven by visceral hard-wired need to strategize and innovate and to disprove the words “it can’t be done!”. Gifted with vision, determination and skills needed for high-level organizational growth strategies and tactics.

Strong orientation in operations and finance: Participate and drive high-level operational initiatives including infrastructure design, business transformation, turn around management and reorganization. As an innovative executive use instincts, insight, judgment and timing to succeed no matter how tough the environment and/or assignment.

Respect and leverage human capital: Motivate, mentor and lead talented professionals, live the culture and lead by example. Direct cross-functional people to willingly give 110% loyalty and effort.

FLORIAN MEYER, MBA, CPA, CA

Florian has been involved as a Fractional Chief Financial Officer and Board Member as a change agent to allow the companies to be focused on growth. Florian done this type of consulting for over twenty years.

 

Florian’s financial expertise has been built over 35 years as a financial officer, external and internal auditor, group controller, treasurer, CFO, fractional CFO and Board Member from a number of large Canadian corporations.

 

Florian currently specializes in financial corporate change management. He is sought out by mid-sized companies for his insightful identification of opportunities and his pragmatic approach in leading corporate change.

STEPHEN MILL

Based in Toronto, Stephen Mill is the President for Executive Search (Canada). He brings over 25 years of experience in human capital advisory to his role, where he serves as a trusted leader overseeing a diversified operational recruitment consulting team.

 

He has personally conducted hundreds of complex senior-level assignments—specializing in finance, technology, and operations leadership advisory work with investment management, private equity, banking, and technology organizations.

 

Stephen began his career at Robert Half in 1996, serving as the Senior Regional Vice President for Canadian and Northeastern US staffing operations. He left Robert Half to assume a national leadership role for Korn Ferry’s recruitment process outsourcing business, developing and rapidly scaling their Canadian operations as a member of the executive and global strategic account teams.

 

After Korn Ferry, Stephen led a specialized technology recruitment and contract consulting business based in Canada. He returned to Robert Half in 2014, where he has since developed, curated, and expanded the Canadian executive search usiness and supported the development of best practices across the global organization.

 

Stephen is an advisor to and nomination committee member of FEI Canada’s CFO of the Year program, jointly sponsored by Robert Half and PwC. He is a board member and strategic advisor for Northern Green Canada, a licensed cannabis producer.

 

Stephen has been interviewed and quoted in The Globe and Mail, IT World Canada, and other industry and mainstream media publications. He has spoken and served as a panelist for many professional membership organizations and industry events, including for FEI Canada and CPA Canada. Throughout his career, Stephen has completed multiple leadership courses with Harvard Business School and the Richard Ivey School of Business.

NIK NANOS Founder & Chief Data Scientist, Nanos Research | Expert in Political, Business, and Social Trends

In a world where data is king, Nik Nanos is the go-to source for leaders, government agencies, and organizations looking to understand the trends and forces shaping our world. He is the founder and chief data scientist at Nanos Research, one of North America’s premier research and strategy organizations, as well as the official pollster for CTV News, the Globe and Mail, and Bloomberg News. Immersed in economic, social, and political trends for 30 years, Nanos delivers custom keynote experiences that are compelling, interactive, and thought-provoking.

 

Nanos founded The Nanos Research Group of Companies in 1987. He also leads the team behind the weekly Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index, a must-have resource for senior executives, and is featured in a weekly segment on CTV’s News Channel, Nanos on the Numbers, which explores the latest political, business, and social trends. Nanos’ analysis has also been featured in most major news organizations, including Bloomberg News, the Globe and Mail, CTV News, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, the BBC, and The Guardian.

 

In recognition of his work in the research industry, Nanos was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2023. He is also a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC; Fellow at the Canadian Research and Insights Council and the Royal Canadian Geographic Society; chair of Atlantik Brücke Canada; past chair of Carleton University; and an honorary captain in the Royal Canadian Navy.

JOHN POPTIS

An experienced senior finance and operations executive with an exemplary track record of realigning growth and/or challenged, underperforming businesses in both the public and private sectors. Conceives and implements unique strategies, processes and financial controls required to optimize business operations, improve profitability, streamline and elevate the finance function.

Proactive leader, coach and mentor; gains executive and employee confidence and leverages their talent and knowledge to implement financial and operational improvements. A proven track record of being able to manage crises while successfully restructuring/re-organizing numerous challenged organizations.

Specialties: Executive Leadership, Corporate Strategy, Corporate Finance, Financial Planning & Analysis, Complex Financial Modeling & Business Plan Development
Public & Private Financings and Deal Support
Financial & Operational Due Diligence
Transaction Analysis & Support
Mergers & Acquisition & Corporate Development
Post Merger Integration
Financial & Operational Restructuring
Turnaround & Crisis Management

VLADLEN STARK

Vladlen is the Director of Finance at the industry-leading natural gas liquids wholesale marketing company NGL Supply Co. Ltd.

 

Vladlen is also a dedicated member of FEI Canada, serving as Chair of Programming for FEI Calgary Board of Directors, as well as Vice-Chair of Audit & Finance for the FEI National Board of Directors and Vice-Chair of IT Thought Leadership Committee.

 

Vladlen brings experience in public accounting, finance, tax, compliance and leadership developed through working in public accounting and energy industry in Canada and New Zealand. Vladlen is an entrepreneur at heart, starting businesses in Canada and Central America, as well as serving on various not-for-profit boards.

 

Vladlen is a Ukrainian immigrant and proud alumnus of Western University with an Honors degree in Accounting and Economics. He is passionate about travel and bodybuilding. Vladlen now lives in Calgary with his incredible wife and son, enjoying everything the Rockies have to offer to the fullest.

AMANDA VELLA

Amanda leads ATB’s business consulting practice. She brings 20 years of specialized experience in finance leadership, business advisory, strategic and financial planning, corporate finance and executive coaching to the practice. She supports clients with her deep understanding of complex business scenarios, including business valuation, transition planning, value acceleration and leadership coaching.

 

Amanda is a Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Business Valuator and a Certified Executive Coach. She has a Master of Professional Accounting from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Acadia University. Prior to ATB, she was VP Finance at a large international private company and held senior advisory roles at EY and Grant Thornton.

 

Amanda is actively involved in the community serving on the Board of FEI Canada where she is Co-Chair of the FEI National Conference. She also sits on the Board of Directors for the CBV Institute and chairs their Education Committee. When she’s not working, you can find Amanda flying gliders and teaching flying at the Edmonton Soaring Club or running the trails in the River Valley.

KYLENE ZENK

Kylene Zenk, SHRM-CP, MBA, is a Senior Principal on the Human Insights Team at UKG, the leading provider of HCM, payroll, and workforce management solutions. In her role, Zenk studies the trends and challenges that influence the nature of work in the modern employment landscape. She leverages her extensive knowledge of the distinctive characteristics of the frontline workforce to guide organizations on how to establish more meaningful and connected work experiences for all employees, whether they work in an office or operational roles on the frontline. A sought-after speaker, Zenk focuses on the positive impact that creating a differentiated employee experience and a great place to work can have on operational and financial performance.