Page 1





O C T/ N O V/ D E C 2 0 13


What happens when employees are not just workers but co-owners? p. 59


Taking the Reins From concept to career move, Simcoe’s Namita Nijjar and 12 other entrepreneurs discuss how to create and maintain a modern-day business p. 64

+ The Modern Mediascape The Globe and Mail steers itself into the digital age

p.118 VOLUME 3, NO. 14

A Taste of Italy Famoso brings authentic Neapolitan pizza to Canada

p. 70

Lessons in Connections TELUS’s telecommuting and smarter offices yield a more positive work environment

p. 42

Taking Off

Sun Life’s unique mutualfund approaches have generated major profits


“A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer.” Dean Acheson

We believe you would rather have an answer than a memo.

Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law FIRM: 348C

150 York Street, Suite 400, Toronto, Canada M5H 3S5 Tel 416.941.9440 • Fax 416.941.9443 • E-mail

Practical. Experience.

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Delivering Value Through Innovation BURGOYNE: Paolo, there is a lot of discussion these days about more clearly demonstrating “value” in the delivery of legal services. How do you define value in the context of your business? BERARD: For us, value in legal services means delivering the right level of legal support to advance Direct Energy’s business goals in a timely and efficient way. Sometimes that may mean pulling out all the stops; but more often it means being sensitive to our business needs, including controlling costs and meeting project deliverables, and working with our business partners and our counsel to manage that. BURGOYNE: At Osler, our goal is to be efficient and effective in delivering what our clients want. How can law firms partner more effectively with their clients to help drive efficiency? BERARD: “Partner” is a good word here: in-house departments today have a greater breadth and depth of legal talent than ever before, combined with a depth of knowledge that outside counsel could never achieve. When we can manage those resources and combine them

with the valuable support and technical expertise that you can bring as outside counsel, we achieve more together than either of us could alone. BURGOYNE: Our clients tell us they are looking for more predictability and control of costs. What role do you see outside counsel playing in helping clients manage their legal budgets? BERARD: communication is key here. By having an open dialogue at the outset about the scope of the project and the level of legal support required, we can develop an appropriate work plan and budget together. neither of us can predict how things will actually unfold. But we need your experience to help us predict the cost of the agreed scope of work, and for you to tell us when the work moves beyond that scope and what the related cost implications are likely to be. BURGOYNE: Osler has made significant investments in legal project management, including launching our Practice Innovation Office. How have these enhancements to the way we deliver legal services affected the work we do with Direct Energy?

Toronto | Montréal | Calgary | Ottawa | New York

TERRy BuRgoynE, PARTnER AT oSlER, HoSkin & HARcouRT llP, SPEAkS To PAolo BERARD, HEAD oF lEgAl, DiREcT EnERgy, ABouT PARTnERing WiTH ouTSiDE counSEl To DRivE innovATion, EFFiciEncy AnD vAluE in THE DElivERy oF lEgAl SERvicES.

BERARD: law firms that embrace project management align with the way we do business. This approach resonates with us. increasingly, if you don’t have those skills, you won’t be as competitive. BURGOYNE: Firms like Osler are trying to be innovative in delivering legal services, particularly with alternative pricing strategies. What else do law firms need to be doing to truly be innovative? BERARD: Most important, listen to the client. Find out what is going to be important to us and react accordingly. if we are concerned that a project may not proceed beyond an initial stage, tight control on what we expend on that stage may be critical. Proposals that respond to those concerns, such as fixed fees or risk sharing, will get our attention. BURGOYNE: Thank you, Paolo. And thanks to Direct Energy for your leadership in this area. By working with us in a collaborative way, you help us respond better and faster to the changes that we are all experiencing in the marketplace.


Sharing is




The Roundup grab bag

Everything is Illuminated


inside look Scott Goodman of Parmalat


In the workplace with HootSuite


Industry Watch Tatiana Londono of Londono Realty Group




Off the Map


From trappers to mappers How Hudson’s Bay Company is navigating its storied past into a promising future

The Experts

16 Getting the job done Dan Rabinowitz, CFO of Haivision, discusses the firm’s strong team approach

20 building a legacy

What happens when employees are not just workers but co-owners?

How Fabio Pozzobon’s tour through the legal field brought him to Sofina Foods

24 global guidance Paolo Berard explains how he’s handling a spread-out legal team for Direct Energy

Taking the Reins

27 in the know Negotiating insurance and finance law with Wayne Schatz, VP and general counsel for The Co-operators Group




from concept to career, these entrepreneurs have taken control of their dreams and made them a reality

Acklands-Grainger’s VP and general counsel, Kevin Derbyshire, underscores the importance of diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace

32 BEING PREPARED Beyond the Rack’s CTO, Ted Guglielmi, shares what’s in the works for the all-star online retailer

35 A FUN ENVIRONMENT Wilton Damas, COO and VP of operations at Open Door Technology, helps workers do their best

37 MAKING THE WORLD GO ’ROUND John L. Pastor, president and partner at Mitchell Sandham Pastor, discusses the vitality of his trade

The Innovators

42 lessons in connections How Andrea Goertz is making TELUS’s work environments smarter and more efficient

45 a quick takeoff Sadiq S. Adatia and Sun Life Global’s unusual approaches in the mutual-fund sector have generated major immediate profits



o ct / n o v / d e c 2013

table of contents

47 back on the fairway Trevor Smith of IGM is helping mismanaged golf clubs find their footing again after the recession

49 giving it back Vancouver Community College’s president, Kathy Kinloch, employs a strategic relationship-building approach that connects students with the city

51 the plastic pushers An open market and popular features have helped CEO Dave Eason sell Berkeley Payment Solutions’ reloadable, prepaid Visa gift cards

54 no software, no problem


Fulvio Ciano and Now Solutions Group’s new information-sharing technology could streamline the insurance- and financial-services industries


Cause & Effect

Sue Gaudi, The Globe and Mail’s VP, general counsel, and corporate secretary.

98 under lock & key How Pacific Blue Cross works with employees daily to improve security

100 exploring your potential The Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund is growing—and diversifying its investments in kind

102 fighting the good fight The Stephen Lewis Foundation is turning the tide on the HIV/AIDS pandemic

The Biz: Leadership

108 a collective for the community President Paul Moist is leading CUPE in a push for greater pension benefits nationwide

129 getting golf up to par Jeff Calderwood and the NGCOA Canada are using efficiency and advocacy to maximize profitability and reposition the game’s image

112 H.r. without borders Manny Sousa leverages his multicultural experience to ensure OpenText’s global staff is managed efficiently

131 clearing the path CFO Karen Keebler and her financial and legal team help Pure Technologies establish overseas toeholds

115 making quality time TSI Group’s Pamela Ruebusch is maintaining the success of her executive search firm through oneon-one engagement

133 A feather-light touch Zip Signs CEO Fred Bennink trusts his staff, and delegates astutely to achieve time-tested service success

118 charging toward the digital age Sue Gaudi helps protect The Globe and Mail as it changes course in its media offerings

121 taking loyalty to the next level Born as Air Canada’s rewards program, Aimia is now a leader in loyalty management with strong employee initiatives

Avalon Rare Metals engages the locals and finds winwin solutions through socially responsible mining

141 the eco-minded C.I.o. Enerflex’s Greg Stuart illustrates why influencing sound business decisions involves influencing IT infrastructure

By promoting fair regulations, Fern Glowinsky has positioned Moneris as a leader in the debit and credit card sector

Richard Crofts’s legal work is helping Bentall Kennedy manage and develop property on both sides of the 49 th parallel

Game Plan

40 PUTTING A FIRM BACK ON TRACK with Mash + Media’s Shawn Klerer


MANAGEMENT TEAM with Aquatera’s Wendy Gregg

104 becoming an independent

financial advisor with Customplan’s Karl Krokosinski

136 overcoming the economic

downturn with Boralex’s Jean-François

139 committed to sustainability

124 sales & sensibility

126 making realty a reality

Green Thumbs

Top Tips

146 How to Change Careers Tactics to get you on a professional path that’s right for you

The Goods

144 safer satiation Smoke NV designed a better e-cigarette to reduce smoking’s effects and make quitting easier


o ct / n o v / d e c 2013



At w o r k w i t h c a n a d a’ s b u s i n e s s l e a d e r s




Sales & Account Management

editor-in-chief Christopher Howe

guerrero howe, llc Pedro Guerrero,

reprints director Stacy Kraft

VP of sales & account management Titus Dawson


managing editor Michael Danaher

Christopher Howe, CEO & Publisher


correspondents Matt Alderton Kristina Anderson Zach Baliva Gary N. Bowen Erin Brereton Christopher Cussat Ruth E. DĂĄvila Julie Edwards Jeff Hampton Frederick Jerant Colleen Kant Ashley T. Kjos Julie Knudson Kelli Lawrence Jennifer Nunez Lindsey Howald Patton Tracey Peever Lisa Ryan Julie Schaeffer Hilary Sutton Tina Vasquez Lynn Russo Whylly Laura Williams-Tracy

PR director Vianni Busquets director of recruiting & retention Lauren Miller

features editor Geoff George staff writers Michelle Markelz Benjamin van Loon

director Ty Attiek

underwrites director Justin Joseph

hr assistant & office manager Samantha Childs operations manager Adam Castillo

Art vp of production & creative director Karin Bolliger senior designer Ryan Duggan

staff accountant Mokena Trigueros executive assistants Kate Moore Whitney LaMora

Senior photo editor & staff photographer Samantha Simmons

account managers Ashley Watkins Johanna Wiesbrock sales executives Logan DiStefano Ben Fongers Brendan Healy Eric Henley Jessica Holmes Gianna Isaia Alex Kalpaxis Jessica Kornfeind Brittany Reidy Elliott Sheets Kara Thomas Dakota Wenig Duncan Wierengo client services director Cheyenne Eiswald client services managers Rebekah Pappas Traci Saiz

Subscriptions For a free subscription, please visit Printed in South Korea. Follow us on Twitter @AdvantageCANADA and like us on Reprints Reprinting of articles is prohibited without permission of Guerrero Howe, LLC. For reprint information, contact Stacy Kraft at 312.256.8460 or Office 205 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 3200, Chicago, IL 60601



o ct / n o v / d e c 2013

editor’s note

It all starts with an idea.

Photo: Samantha Simmons

Before any business can earn its first dollar—it doesn’t matter if it’s a financial firm with an international reach or a neighbourhood restaurant that’s down the block—there needs to be a dream, a vision, a plan. But the idea can’t just be anything. It needs to be good. It needs to be strong. It needs to be different, unique, sophisticated, uncomplicated. It needs to serve a need, fill a void, solve a problem. It needs to provide a service that is both essential and functional, and ultimately it needs to make the leap from concept to the corporate sphere, where it needs to translate fluidly. And even then—even after all the planning and marketing and customer service and sales tactics and other pieces of the puzzle are put in place—it needs to stay afloat. The idea needs to blossom into a healthy, functioning entity. It isn’t enough for the idea to just be put into motion; the idea needs to work. But what does it takes to achieve something of this magnitude? In

this day and age, who are these managerial maestros who can conduct a fleeting thought or glimmering notion into a fullfledged career move?           This issue of Advantage is dedicated to entrepreneurs—those individuals who know how to make it work, the ones who are putting their money where their mouth is and proving to the world that their idea is worth it all. No matter the industry—from software and technology to management consulting to quality linens for the health care sector—the entrepreneurs showcased in our feature section, Taking the Reins (p. 64), illustrate what it takes to succeed in an ever-imposing economic pitfall, an increasingly competitive market, and an endlessly evolving business terrain. Whether finding inspiration for an authentic Italian pizzeria such as Famoso (p. 70) or a creating a movie production company such as Front Street Pictures (p. 76), these entrepreneurs offer sterling examples and essential advice for all fledgling business owners venturing out on their own. They offer realworld experience and down-to-earth beliefs in their practices and implementations. As evidenced by these entrepreneurs, budding and proven alike, it’s important to invest everything you have into your business. Some companies are even taking this idea to the next level, giving their employees a piece of the pie instead of just a taste. In “Sharing is Good Business” (p. 59), our writer Tracey Peever takes an in-depth look at the recent uptick in employee-owned companies and how their existence can boost morale, decrease turnover, and enhance the quality of work for all involved. Pulling examples from multiple industries in Canada and beyond, this feature is one that might—and should—make you rethink your entire business model. It’s content like this that makes putting this magazine together truly inspiring. No other issue of Advantage has been so jam-packed with as many visionaries, innovators, and ideamakers as this one—applying their knowledge and wherewithal directly to Canada’s business frontier. You’re doing yourself a favour by reading this one.

Michael Danaher Managing Editor advantage

o ct / n o v / d e c 2013


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a collection of products and resources that are shaking up the business frontier

The Right Touch

Unique in both design and functionality, the Balance Lamp offers a modern upgrade to today’s offices and work spaces. See it and other unique creations in Grab Bag.

10 11 12 13

Grab Bag inside look in the workplace industry watch


o ct / n o v / d e c 2013


Grab bag


1. 2.

4. 5.


Everything is Illuminated Suggested lighting updates to help you modernize and customize your office space

3. Easy Does It

5. A-green-able

Made from a single rod and a block of wood, the 360° Lamp offers maximum adjustability and functionality to meet your work space’s lighting needs. The minimalist design is available in both tall and short versions. 360° Lamp /

Consisting of two wooden posts connected by a single wire, this lamp only lights up when the posts are perfectly balanced. Dutch designer Mieke Meijer designed the light with the LEDs hidden in the horizontal post. Balance Lamp /

Seattle-based design studio graypants has created a series of lamps made from repurposed cardboard. Smart and sustainable, all shades of the TILT are treated with Class-A nontoxic fire retardant, so there’s no worry of it overheating. TILT /

2. A Perfect Fit

4. Playful Design

6. From Russia with Light

QisDesign’s unique product lets you modernize your space while giving off plenty of light. Inspired by its musical namesake, the Piano LED uses a special illumination technique that allows users to touch the surface without trepidation. Piano LED /

A combination of form, performance, and unusual design, Ugol angles over your work area by connecting to the corner of your desk (ugol means “corner” in Russian). Great for crowded desks with minimal work space. Ugol /

1. Resolution in Revolution

Babele is more than a lamp—it’s a puzzle. Created by Italian studio Manifattura Italiana Design, the lamp has an illuminated centre that shines through the gaps. Move the pieces around to create your own design. Babele / 10


o ct / n o v / d e c 2013

inside look

Scott Goodman National VP of Human Resources, Parmalat Canada When we last spoke to Scott Goodman, he was illustrating how HR can better serve your business’s needs by integrating its vision with ownership. Here, he takes a break from his busy schedule and gives us a glimpse of his personal experiences and motivations.

Photo: Jonni Super

Best advice you ever received?

There is beauty everywhere—see it. Describe yourself in three words.

Balanced, fun, smart. Biggest pet peeve?

Favourite class/ subject in university?

People who state with certainty that which they cannot know (and slow people in the food buffet line!).

Political science and psychology

Proudest professional achievement?

Where were you born?

Montréal. Where did you grow up?

Building a great HR team at Parmalat Canada. Proudest personal achievement?

Raising two wonderful kids.

York University, BA; University of Western Ontario, LLB; Royal Roads University, MBA. What was your first job?

After paper boy and a couple of retail sales jobs, I was a waiter for years. Do you remember what you spent your first paycheck on?

Probably candy. Who’s your role model?

Part Christopher Hitchens, part an idealized Renaissance man—someone with balance who is able to enjoy music, sport, career, and be a great father, husband, son, brother, and friend. Can you name one business that you truly admire?

Just one is tough. I’ll go with Apple.

Favourite book?

The Lord of the Rings. Favourite TV show? Favourite band?

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

Steely Dan.

Retail sales in a mall (but toughest—very different from worst—was tree planting).

If you weren’t in your current profession, what profession would you be in (or like to be in)?

Blog or website that you follow religiously?, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, and Interestingengineering. com. What’s better: Twitter or Facebook?

Tournament golf pro. Favourite place you’ve travelled?

The Rocky Mountains and Venice. Would your childhood self be surprised at how you’ve turned out?

Good question. Probably not. Maybe a little bit, but in a good way. _a

Facebook. How long is your commute?

30–45 minutes. Favourite NHL team?

Maple Leafs.

What is your biggest weakness?

Favourite movie?

Bedtime snacks.

Young Frankenstein.

Thursday. I get key things done for the week; people are over the midweek hump; and everyone is still fully engaged (which can drop on Friday).

Meet the Press.

I’ve lived in Toronto since I was five. University attended and degree earned?

favourite day of the workweek?


o ct / n o v / d e c 2013


in the workplace

HootSuite A look at the social media advocate’s exciting new office in Vancouver CEO Ryan Holmes sits with his dog, Mika. Many HootSuite employees bring their dogs to the office daily.





o ct / n o v / d e c 2013


A full gym, locker room, and showers are accessible to all staff members 24/7 (4); Tents placed around the office act as alternative meeting rooms (5); Staff members have access to a yoga/stretching room, fully stocked with equipment (6).

Both floors of the office have a kitchenette, stocked with coffee, tea, and a fridge (1); The murals in the office represent the company culture and brand (2); Ping pong and foosball tables are two popular features of the lunch room (3). 5



industry watch



The Realty World

Photo: Dominic Fuizzotto

BLACK 70% – 0-0-0-70

BLACK 90%– 0-0-0-90

BLACK 35% – 0-0-0-35



PMS 360 – 60-0-80-0




PMS 432 – 20-0-0-80







Taking your business to the next level

The Advantage Magazine

2,5 in × 10,4 in


514 285-1311 514 844-4541

Her smartphone FORMAT



“I can access any document in my company’s system from my phone. I know agents who have smartphones but don’t know how to use them. Get a smartphone and learn how to use it.” 2


Multiple Listing Service





“This is my resource for accessing any listing in Québec. This is just one of our advantages over the ‘for sale by owners.’”


The newspaper 4


“Know what’s going on where you sell.” CLIENT

According to Londono, now is an excellent time to consider purchasing property. “Two years ago, you bought high,” she says. “Today, interest rates are lower, and you’re probably paying less for the same piece of real estate because supply is meeting demand. You’re getting a fair price for the property.” Canada’s low interest rates provide a great opportunity for first-time home buyers to lock in a great rate. “It practically costs you nothing to borrow money in Canada,” Londono says. “Therefore, you’re using the bank’s money to get in on the property ladder. You can make some money.”



Given the current market, challenges that real estate professionals are facing include convincing clients to adjust prices. “We’re still doing well, but our prices were out of whack,” Londono says. “Now, finally buyers are becoming savvy and educated about the market.”


The president and founder swears by these five necessities to get her through each day


Londono has grown her firm from three agents to more than 100 in less than five years. She recommends to both new and seasoned agents that they commit to continual learning in the field to grow their businesses. “A lot of my ideas come from new advancements at innovative companies,” she says. “Pay attention to what other successful people are doing. Talk to young people. Listen to their ideas.”


Tatiana’s Picks


With the transition in the market, Londono’s advice to real estate agents is to be ready to work. According to her, now is the time for real estate professionals to adopt technology to stay in the game. Londono’s own Montréal office is completely paperless. “It was not too long ago that I carboncopied everything and had to get signatures from clients in person,” she says. “The times of going out at 9 p.m. to get a signature are over. Technology in our industry has been a good thing because it gives us time to better serve our clients.”

Cabana Séguin inc. 2055 Peel Street, Suite 900 Montréal, Québec H3A 1V4

Canada’s real estate industry may be softening, but according to Canadian broker Tatiana Londono, founder of Londono Realty Group Inc. and star of HGTV’s The Property Shop, that’s a good thing. “It’s about time prices drop,” she says. With properties selling at a more reasonable rate, Londono predicts the market will continue at a solid pace. “We are a country in expansion,” she adds, noting that the drop in prices and the low interest rates indicate that it is a good time to turn over property. “Fortunately supply has not exceeded demand to the point that we’re in a crisis.”




Canada’s most well-known broker, Tatiana Londono, shares her insights on the state of Canadian real estate by Hilary Sutton


Local industry publications “Learn from others. Read up on real estate news.” 5

Contact with other brokers “Utilize your network. Help each other.”

1 75 lawyers LAVERY, DE BILLY, L.L.P.





o ct / n o v / d e c 2013


off the map

from trappers

to mappers How David Pickwoad is helping Hudson’s Bay Company navigate its storied past into a promising future by matt alderton


he year is 1665. There’s no such thing as a department store—or, for that matter, Canada. There is, however, high fashion, and fur is at the centre of it, especially among European and Russian men, who salivate over felt hats as though they’re wearable caviar. Made from beaver pelts, they’re warm, soft, and expensive—the ultimate status symbol. Men covet these hats so much that beavers in Europe have all but disappeared. The New World, however, is crawling with them, not to mention foxes, marten, mink, and otters. Two French fur traders learn from natives that the best fur trapping takes place north and west of the Great Lakes, around Hudson Bay, so they hatch a plan to establish a trading post in the area. From there, they posit, they can ship furs to Europe more quickly, more efficiently, and more affordably. Flush with pelts, the two traders seek financial backing from the French government. However, because it wants to transition the colonial economy from fur to farming, it declines. Its loss is England’s gain, and in 1670 the English establish “the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England Trading into Hudson Bay.” And Hudson’s Bay Company, aka HBC, is born. “Our history makes us unique,” says HBC senior vice president and general counsel David Pickwoad, pointing out that HBC is the oldest commercial corporation in North America. “HBC is a uniquely Canadian company, and it’s been interwoven with the development of the country as a whole for centuries.” It’s partially this history that drew Pickwoad to the company in the first place, and in many facets it’s still what drives the company today. 14


o ct / n o v / d e c 2013

David Pickwoad, senior vice president and general counsel.

“No other company has the history we have. HBC is a uniquely Canadian company, and it’s been interwoven with the development of the country as a whole for centuries.” —David Pickwoad

Its British heritage makes HBC—owner of several North American retailers, including Lord & Taylor in the United States and Hudson’s Bay, Zellers, and Home Outfitters in Canada—a perfect match for Pickwoad, who studied British history as an undergraduate at McGill University. “My last name is an old English name,” he says. “My father’s side of the family was from England, and my mother’s side from Scotland; I was always interested in where my parents came from.” As it turns out, where he comes from personally is equally interesting: While most corporate attorneys go straight from university to law school, then straight from law school to a law firm, Pickwoad chose a different path. “I came to the practice of law much later than a lot of people,” Pickwoad says. “My father was in the steel industry, so I grew up in and around steel and worked at a steel service centre for a number of years before and after college.” Pickwoad occupied a variety of positions at the steel plant, ultimately migrating from the plant floor to the head office. “It was a growing company, and watching it develop gave me a real interest in business,” he says. When he graduated from law school in 1998, Pickwoad again bucked convention. While other graduates clamored for associate positions at high-profile law firms, he pursued his burgeoning interest in business at Deloitte & Touche, where he spent several years in the company’s corporate finance practice before returning to the steel plant, this time in a senior finance role. By the time he finally began a career in law, in 2003, as an associate at Toronto-based Stikeman Elliott LLP, Pickwoad had something most other attorneys lack: real-world


People making a difference.

HBC has come a long way since its humble trading-post days.

The company’s history doesn’t just influbusiness experience. This made him an es- ence HBC’s products; it also permeates its pecially attractive candidate in 2010, when business strategy. “A number of our execuHBC—one of his clients—was recruiting to tives refer to themselves as ‘chief adventurers,’” fill its head legal position. “The thing that differentiates my back- Pickwoad says. “The company’s long name referred to a ‘Company of Adventurers,’ and ground is the fact that I have a number of years we have definitely taken that mindset. While of practical business experience, which gives me a different perspective,” says Pickwoad, we are big and have been here a long time, a return to that entrepreneurial mindset and whose first task at HBC was integrating its legal team into the company’s strategic op- approach of adventure to business is one that very much ties in with our historical roots. erations. “A general counsel should be involved When people came on large ships to a world as much as possible in the business. When I they knew nothing about, they were truly adarrived here, the legal department at various venturers. That’s our history, and we look at times had been an afterthought to the business all of our associates—from those in the store folks. Since then, we have made great strides up to the CEO—as adventurers.” in the way our lawyers align with the business Pickwoad is excited by this firm-wide units they support. … Today, we are valued sense of adventure, and there are ways in partners to the business, giving not just legal which he actually sees it as a part of his job. advice but overall [strategic] assistance.” The integration of law and business is “Lawyers don’t have to be viewed as a hindrance; they can be seen as a facilitator,” he something Pickwoad has in common with HBC. It helped the former advance his career, says. “The challenge for any business, big or small, is to maintain an adventurous mindset and it’s one reason the latter continues to thrive while also being cognizant of risks and mitinearly 350 years after its founding. Another reason is the fact that HBC embraces its past, gating them to the greatest extent possible. That’s what I do. It doesn’t exclude being adeven as it pursues its future. “As we become a venturous or entrepreneurial at all.” _a more modern company, one of the areas we’re focusing on is our history,” Pickwoad says. “We have a renewed interest in getting people to learn about our history and about our sig- A message from lavery nature products, the most notable of which is In April 2012, David was appointed senior vice our green, red, yellow, and navy stripes. Those president and general counsel of Hudson’s Bay stripes come from old blankets that were used Company. David has earned over the years a throughout the fur trade, and they’re part of a reputation of being one of the most successful signature line of products that … is focused on in-house counsels in Canada in his field, namely a return to the look and feel of what we were.” for his expertise and service quality approach.

Stikeman Elliott values its longstanding relationship with Hudson’s Bay Company and congratulates David Pickwoad on being recognized for his contributions to the business community. We wish both David and Hudson’s Bay Company continued success.


o ct / n o v / d e c 2013


dan rabinowitz

Talking Points



From marketing to finance o ct / n o v / d e c 2013

Where the company is headed

Taking pleasure in your work

Building a great team

the experts

“I’ve surrounded myself with individuals who are self-starters, who know their roles well. They have as much freedom as they need to get their jobs done.” Dan Rabinowitz, CFO of Haivision Network Video, looks at the firm’s team approach Interview by Jeff Hampton


lthough Dan Rabinowitz is no longer in marketing, he still manages to infect others with the enthusiasm he brings to a different field: finance. “When someone tells me to go ‘take the hill,’ I love the challenge of putting all of the elements together to close on [a] transaction,” he says. The CFO of Haivision Network Video is now helping build the firm into a global solutions leader in the field of video streaming, recording, management, and delivery for enterprise. Here, he discusses with Advantage his career transition and the team ethos at Haivision.

Advantage: Did you always want to be in finance?

Dan Rabinowitz: My educational focus was in marketing, and I started out at the Latex Glove Company, where I was responsible for a line of high-voltage insulating products for the utility industry. It didn’t take me long to realize that marketing wasn’t my first love, so I moved into finance. You’ve held a lot of positions. Is that typical for a CFO?

Photos: Samantha Simmons

A CFO’s role is dynamic. The market moves quickly, and as companies make acquisitions, get acquired, or pivot their businesses, we get the chance to educate, guide, and bring new ideas to these companies so that they and their customers and investors are successful. What sets you apart from other CFOs?

My early experiences in sales and marketing—combined with my transactional experience— are unique. I have a firm understanding of accounting, but my interests and skills lie on the finance and transactional side of the business: mergers, acquisitions, raising private equity, public offerings, etc. Because of my process orientation, I often get asked to be involved in initiatives that are outside the role of a typical CFO. I tend to take on a very strategic “where are we going?” perspective.

Dan Rabinowitz’s Career Milestones 1984 Graduates from the University of Illinois with a BS in business administration; signs on as a sales and product manager at Latex Glove Company

1987 Earns an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University; joins Scientific Research Associates, a division of IBM

1989 Becomes the director of finance for Technology Solutions Company

1994 Begins work as the mergers-andacquisitions intermediary for Geneva Capital Markets

1995 Starts his first EVP and CFO with Peapod LLC

2001 Becomes EVP and CFO of TUSC

2005 Accepts a job as EVP and CFO of FinanSure

2008 Lands the CFO position at Haivision


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“We have a culture of working hard and playing hard. It creates an environment that is very attractive to be around.” —Dan Rabinowitz, CFO

With that in mind, where are you headed over the next five years?

Ultimately, my mandate within Haivision is to increase the value we provide to our various constituents: channel partners, customers, employees, and shareholders. Thus, I am constantly thinking strategically about how we might best position ourselves to increase the value of what we provide. We certainly want to make sure that as the industry and our business evolves, we don’t overlook any of the underlying currents that might represent challenges to our future success. We want to make sure that we continue to be the leading technology provider and that our solutions are a step ahead of constantly changing technology trends. If we continue down that path, all our constituents will benefit. What excites you most about what you do?

I particularly like the transactional part of my business. With any transaction, there is a specific goal, a starting line, and a process that needs to be followed. What do you enjoy most about your work at Haivision?

The people are great, and we have a culture of working hard and playing hard. It creates an environment that is very attractive to be around. My colleagues all have responsibilities within the organization, and we trust that each of us is going to take care of the things that are within our vertical control. We complement one another for what each brings to the business. What philosophy guides the way you run your department?

It’s that level of trust that allows people to realize their full potential in their positions. I’ve built a great team around me that handles their responsibilities much better than I could. For example, my finance lead runs all of the accounting. He requires very little oversight, if any at all. My IT lead is clearly more equipped at his job than I could ever be. And the same holds true for my HR lead. I’ve surrounded myself with individuals who are self-starters, who know their roles well. They have as much freedom as they need to get their jobs done. This philosophy frees me up to do the things that I want to do—and that’s the transactional, the strategic, the forecasting, and the business development efforts that are of particular interest to me. _a 18


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Fabio pozzobon

Talking Points



Learning all aspects of a business

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Teaching others the ropes

The challenges of the food industry

the experts

“I wanted to get involved in a business environment where I’d be building a legacy.” How general counsel Fabio Pozzobon’s tour through the legal field brought him to Sofina Foods Interview by Jeff Hampton


lready the owner of such household comestibles brands as Janes Family Foods, Lilydale, Mastro, and San Daniele, Sofina Foods Inc. is now on a mission to become the most successful food company in the world. And, with 15 years of prior experience at food and beverage maker Coca-Cola—and key lessons learned from his immigrant parents about respect, integrity, and hard work—Fabio Pozzobon is primed to help reach that goal as the company’s new and impressively unf lappable general counsel. Here, he talks to Advantage about the sense of accomplishment he gets from his work. Advantage: How did you choose the legal profession?

Did you always want to be a general counsel?

Fabio Pozzobon: My parents tell a story that when I was about six or seven, I told them I dreamed about being a lawyer, and that stuck with me. Early in life, I had a thirst for knowledge, and law seemed like a profession that would expand my horizons.

I practiced law in a firm for five years, but I always wanted to be intricately involved in the business world because that’s where you actually become part of a team, are able to help build a business, and grow within it.

What do you enjoy about the law?

How did you land at Sofina?

The law touches everyone on a regular basis, and as you grow in your career, you develop from simply being a legal technical expert to a business partner and then becoming a strategic, trusted advisor.

I was at Coca-Cola for 15 years, and it was a great experience. Not only is it one of the best brands in the world, but it allowed me to be fully integrated in every aspect of the business. But in 2011, I took a step back and

reflected on where I wanted my next journey in life to lead me. I wanted to explore other ventures, one of which was to give back to society in some respect and share my passion for knowledge, so I taught at the college level. What did you teach?

I taught potential paralegals, and instead of just teaching by-the-book law, I was able to bring to light my day-in-and-day-out practical experience. They learned something about life, and they learned something about how the real world works so that they would be able to apply themselves in advantage

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Fabio Pozzobon’s Career Milestones 1985 Earns a BA in French and a minor in political science from York University

1989 Earns his LLB degree from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School; takes a position as an associate lawyer at Kerzner, Papazian, Macdermid

1995 Becomes the corporate legal counsel of Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada Company

2005 Climbs to a vice presidential position at Coca-Cola

2011 Switches tacks and starts as a part-time instructor of paralegals at Seneca College and Humber College; accepts a general counsel contract position with iTravel2000

2012 Joins Sofina Foods as vice president and general counsel



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a practical, worthwhile, value-added way. It was a memorable experience.

makes them tick, what their needs are, and you need to speak their language.

What attracted you to Sofina?

Is it tough working in the food industry, with all the risks and liabilities?

I wanted to get involved in a business environment where I’d be building a legacy, and Sofina fit the bill. It has an entrepreneurial environment that fosters family values in business, with a strong foundation, momentum, and a great vision for growth to become the most successful food company in the world. The people are passionate, and they have the values of integrity, respect, and accountability—things that I aspire to and live, day in and day out. What did you learn at Coca-Cola that has been most valuable at Sofina?

At Coca-Cola, I wasn’t just sitting in my office reading contracts; I got involved in all aspects of the business. The culture that I aspired to and lived every day was that you don’t just say “no” or “can’t”; you must find solutions, but you do so by working together in a professional, respectful way and challenging each other so that decisions are made and solutions are found. To do that well, you have to get involved in your business client’s world—whether that world is finance or sales or marketing—and understand what

It’s challenging—but in a good way. You can never forget that you are fulfilling the needs of your customers with that delicious staple that they desire. If you have proper processes in place, adhere to high-quality standards, ensure a disciplined approach to business, and live by your core values, the vision is achievable. Do you have a legal staff working with you?

I am the legal team, but with our strong business team working with me, it really energizes me to be on top of my game to meet their needs. Does that keep you up at night?

If you’re organized and able to prioritize what you have to deal with and communicate effectively, those things won’t keep you up at night. What keeps me up at night is trying to get to that next level, that vision. It’s exciting every day to walk in here knowing that we’re building to achieve a goal and we’re doing it as a team. _a

the experts

“It’s not easy when you have reports in four different cities and a boss in another country, but that’s the nature of our business.” Paolo Berard explains how he’s handling a spread-out legal team for Direct Energy Interview by Erin Brereton

paolo berard

Photo: Norm Rumfeldt


s if juiced by the very electricity it supplies, Direct Energy, founded in 1986, has expanded into a $10 billion business with approximately 6,000 employees since it merged with and became a subsidiary of global energy company Centrica, in 2000. Direct Energy is now one of North America’s largest energy and energy-related service providers, bringing gas and power to 13 million residential homes and businesses in 46 US states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, and it’s Paolo Berard who helps manage legal affairs across all the business’s regions. As the head of legal for Direct Energy’s services division, Berard, who joined the company in March 2010 after 10 years in private practice in Toronto and New York City, oversees a team of 12 attorneys and other legal professionals. Here he speaks to Advantage about his company’s growth, his interest in the energy industry, and his unusual workplace. Advantage: What drew you to the energy industry?

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Rising above geographic challenges

Paolo Berard: It was one of those soul-searching events; I was looking to move in-house and had a pretty short list of industries at the top of my list. There was a lot of change and regulatory action going on in the oil, gas, and energy industries, so I thought that would be interesting. Once I met with the team at Direct Energy, I knew I had found the right place.

Has the job involved any new challenges or skills?

How would you describe your management style?

Absolutely. I am still very much in the early stages of the learning curve. But having had exposure to such a wide variety of industries as an M&A lawyer made the experience easier. You get a broad view of how industries operate.

It’s certainly very open and communicative. As a senior attorney in a firm, you’re paired with junior attorneys and paralegals, but it’s very different as a manager. We try to make sure people understand their career path. I really like to give people the freedom to do what they need to do. If they need me, I’m absolutely happy to jump in.

How has this role differed from your past professional experiences?

In our office, everybody is sitting at a desk. There are no walls; we don’t even have cubicles. It takes some getting used to, but it fosters an air of collegiality. It’s a very social and interactive workplace. Does that ever make it tough to get work done?

Sometimes I just want to close the door and block out the noise to plow through a 100-page contract. We encourage folks to work from home one day a week. I try and leave some of those quiet tasks for my day working remotely.

Paolo Berard’s Career Milestones 1994 Graduates from Queen’s University in Kingston, ON

1996 Works as a summer student for 400-attorney Canadian firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

1997 Graduates summa cum laude from the University of Ottawa law school

1997–1998 Articles with Canadian firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt

1999–2007 Works as an associate corporate lawyer at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, including at stint in the firm’s New York office

2007–2010 Serves as a corporate and securities attorney for Toronto- and Vancouver-based Goodmans LLP

2010 Joins Direct Energy as the head of legal for the company’s services division

Are there any difficulties managing a staff in different regions?

Geographically, it’s challenging, and I spend more time on airplanes than I’d like to. It’s not easy when you have reports in four different cities and a boss in another country, but that’s the nature of our business. Have you faced any issues practicing law in different countries?

Certainly. As we think about driving additional efficiencies across a global business, one thing we’re looking to do is bring various business units from the UK, Canada, and the US together and consider single-source suppliers that deliver in all three jurisdictions. Although the regulatory regimes differ, you can get a terrific result—but there are differences you need to be sensitive to. What’s the biggest challenge you face in your current role?

I’ve come to learn how quickly this company changes and adapts to change externally in the marketplace. In the last 12–18 months, we relocated our corporate headquarters from Toronto to Houston; a big part of the corporate support team has migrated from around the corner from me to another country. And we’re continually looking at and buying new businesses. I’m much better at managing that type of change now than three years ago. When we were going through a restructuring or acquisition, we’d get to the end and say, “Great!” Instead, I now say, “What’s next?” _a

The Canadian Employment and Labour group at Norton Rose Fulbright congratulates Paolo Berard and his team at Direct Energy for their continued success. 3800 lawyers | 54 offices | 6 continents | 1 vision

A message from norton rose fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is Canada’s only truly global international legal practice. With close to 700 lawyers based in Calgary, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Québec, Caracas, and Bogotá, we are one of the largest practices in Canada. Our six key industry sectors are financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining, and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and pharmaceuticals and life sciences. advantage

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Expertise when you need it. As The Co-operators’ leading law firm in Canada, we are their “go-to” counsel when they need outside legal assistance with day-to-day issues that range from sophisticated acquisitions and dispositions to cooperative matters.



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“At the end of the day, the business is the beginning and the end. The legal aspects of being in business, while necessary and important, are secondary.” Negotiating insurance and finance law with Wayne Schatz, VP and general counsel for The Co-operators Group Interview by Julie Edwards


leading Canadian-owned, multiproduct insurance and financial-services organization, The Co-operators Group Limited is a cooperative owned and controlled by 44 organizations, including credit union centrals and other co-operatives representing a variety of industry sectors and regions across Canada. It’s a lot of hands, and charged with watching over them all on the legal front is Wayne Schatz, The Cooperators’ vice president and general counsel (corporate and regulatory). Here, he shares his insights on switching to in-house legal work and learning the ins and outs of the industry he works in.

Advantage: What attracted you to working in the legal field?

Wayne Schatz: I’d like to say I wanted to be a lawyer ever since I was a kid. The truth is, when I was completing my undergraduate studies, I realized that a liberal arts degree with a major in philosophy was not the most practical degree to secure future employment. So, following in the footsteps of my older brother, who was finishing his legal studies, I applied to and was accepted at the University of Saskatchewan’s law school.

wayne schatz

You started out in private practice. What attracted you to moving in-house with The Co-operators?

Talking Points

Prepping for the working world

Private practice vs. in-house counsel

I was in private legal practice in Hamilton, Ontario, for about five years, doing a mix of corporate commercial work and civil, criminal, and family litigation. However, advantage

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the experts

becoming in-house counsel was appealing for its focus on a single client and the potential for a better work-life balance. In 1996, I joined The CUMIS Group Limited, which was acquired in 2009 by The Co-operators and Central One Credit Union on a temporary six-month legal placement. Over the years since then, I’ve been fortunate to hold a variety of interesting and challenging legal and business roles with CUMIS and now The Co-operators. While practicing as a lawyer has always been the common thread, I also gained significant

“I think it’s important to be open to continually learning and building your legal expertise and knowledge of your company’s industry.” —Wayne Schatz, Vice President & General Counsel

exposure to the business side of the company when I helped lead some strategic operations initiatives. Did the exposure to the business side make you rethink being a lawyer?

Wayne Schatz’s Career Milestones 1988 Graduates from law school at the University of Saskatchewan

1989–1991 Completes legal articling and is called to the Bars of Saskatchewan and Ontario

1991 Joins DeRubeis Chetcuti LLP in Hamilton, ON, as an associate

1996 Joins CUMIS and MemberCARE Financial Services as associate general counsel

1998 Becomes MemberCARE’s director of business and regulatory affairs

2003 Acts as CUMIS’s business lead for the transition of MemberCARE’s insurance operations from Ontario to a joint venture partner and affiliate in British Columbia

2004 Returns to CUMIS’s legal department as associate general counsel

2007 Climbs to the position of vice president and deputy general counsel at CUMIS

2010 Joins The Co-operators’ legal department (upon its acquisition of CUMIS) as VP and general counsel (corporate and regulatory)



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Working on business projects, I learned and experienced things I would not otherwise have had the opportunity to do in private practice. Specifically, as in-house counsel working closely with my business colleagues, the takeaway for me was appreciating the different perspective of business managers compared to legal counsel. At the end of the day, the business is the beginning and the end. The legal aspects of being in business, while necessary and important, are secondary to actually running and growing the business, and the role of legal counsel is one of advising, guiding, and supporting the business to achieve its business goals. What does a regular day look like for you?

My primary responsibility is the day-today corporate and regulatory legal support required by Co-operators Life Insurance Company as well as its subsidiary, CUMIS, the latter of which provides insurance and financial products and services to Canadian credit unions and their members. While I am regularly involved in significant strategic and enterprise-wide projects for The Co-operators, providing day-to-day legal support to individual business units is also a key part of my work. To use a car analogy, the business needs regular servicing, maintenance, and attention from the legal department to run effectively. Generally, I find that managing and balancing legal work flow and priorities is a dynamic process and perhaps more of an art than a science.

What are your top business philosophies?

As an in-house corporate lawyer, I think it’s important to be open to continually learning and building your legal expertise and knowledge of your company’s industry. In addition to participating in legal educational programs, I recommend in-house counsel seek out educational opportunities that are not solely for lawyers. For example, while working on the insurance-distribution and wealth-management side of our business, I obtained my certified financial planner, chartered life underwriter, certified health insurance specialist, and financial management advisor designations—all nonlegal financialservices industry designations that relate directly to the business of The Co-operators and continue to assist me in understanding our business and providing legal advice. What advice would you give to upand-coming lawyers?

I’d tell up-and-coming lawyers much the same thing I try to tell my three children— and also remind myself: always strive to do your best, every day, in everything you do, big or small. Also, when tackling a challenging issue, trust your instincts to point you to possible solutions and problems, then use your intellect to validate or refute what your gut is telling you. Or, put another way, don’t ignore the little voice inside your head. _a

A message from deeth williams wall

Deeth Williams Wall congratulates Wayne Schatz on his continuing success in guiding The Co-operators Group through a complex and ever-changing legal environment. We are honoured to be able to support Wayne with advice and counsel on complex technology and intellectual-property matters.

the experts

“Maintaining a diverse employee base isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s a powerful business advantage.” Photo: Paul J. Lawrence

Acklands-Grainger’s VP and general counsel, Kevin Derbyshire, underscores the importance of diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace Interview by Frederick Jerant


rom a private practice to a VP and general counsel position at Acklands-Grainger, Canada’s largest distributor of industrial, safety, and fastener products, Kevin Derbyshire has had an accomplished career, and he wants others to get their fair shot, too. As a testament to his commitment to diversity and inclusiveness in the legal profession, he and two other general counsel cofounded Legal Leaders for Diversity (LLD) in 2011. The organization consists of like-minded general counsel at 60 of Canada’s top companies, and here Derbyshire explains how he earned the prominence to help start it and how it’s changing the legal landscape.

Advantage: You’re seen as a champion of diversity in the workplace. That’s fitting because you’ve had such a diversified career. How did you get here?

kevin derbyshire

Talking Points

Diversity as a business advantage

Starting a grassroots movement

Kevin Derbyshire: I began practicing law at a large, international Bay Street law firm in Toronto, focused primarily on M&A and corporate/commercial [work]. Concluding deals in private practice gave me great insight into the corporate decision-making process. Working on large international deals also made it clear to me that teams deployed to complete these deals with advantage

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broader, diverse backgrounds would result in a better result for the client. In 2000, I received a great offer to join Bell Canada Enterprises and was responsible for providing legal support for the company’s procurement function. I was promoted to assistant general counsel within 18 months and ultimately became general counsel of Bell ExpressVu [now Bell TV] in 2002, reporting to Bell’s former chief legal officer, who had been promoted to CEO of Bell ExpressVu. The CEO had restructured the legal department and asked that I rebuild that function at the company. How did you become involved with the Virgin Group?

Branson’s Virgin Group and Bell created a joint venture to launch Virgin Mobile Canada, a new cell phone company in Canada. I was recruited for the VP and general counsel

Kevin Derbyshire’s Career Milestones 1991 Enters private practice with Fasken Martineau

1995 Becomes the first Canadian lawyer at FedEx Canada

1999 Earns the FedEx International Five Star Award for Excellence

2002 Is promoted to general counsel of Bell ExpressVu (now Bell TV)

2004 Joins as a founding executive of start-up Virgin Mobile Canada

2007 Wins the Canadian General Counsel Award for Mid Market Excellence from the National Post and ZSA Legal Recruitment

2010 Comes back as a finalist for the Canadian General Counsel Award for Business Achievement from the National Post and ZSA Legal Recruitment

2011 Cofounds the Legal Leaders for Diversity organization

2012 Joins Acklands-Grainger as vice president and general counsel



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“Companies that advance and adopt diversity and inclusiveness policies will be that much more responsive, resilient, and successful.” —Kevin Derbyshire, Vice President & General Counsel

position and joined the founding executive team five months before the launch of the company in early 2005. It was a rocket. When I joined, a few months before we were to launch the company, Virgin Mobile had no legal department at all, so I immediately began implementing the legal, regulatory, and corporate-governance frameworks. We worked around the clock. And from there?

After Virgin and the successful buyout, I decided to join DuPont Canada as chief administrative officer and general counsel because of the breadth of the responsibility: legal, government affairs, and public relations. I joined Acklands-Grainger in 2012 as vice president and general counsel and am responsible for managing the company’s legal affairs as well as serving as a senior business partner in the management of the company. It’s my pleasure to lead an incredibly talented and dedicated legal team that provides legal support for all aspects of the business, including commercial contracts, product liability, litigation, insurance coverage, employment, real estate, and mergers and acquisitions. How did you become a founding member of Legal Leaders for Diversity?

The idea for Legal Leaders for Diversity came from the general counsels at the Royal Bank of Canada, Deloitte & Touche, and me. We recognized in our positions of influence that we could make a positive change and be held accountable for our convictions to advance diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace. We believe that a company’s decision-making process is superior, the consequent decisions more robust, and the retention of top talent far more sustainable if diversity and inclusiveness are integral parts of the company.

Aren’t there already rules and standards for that?

There are certainly legislative requirements, but beyond that we seek to be far more proactive. About half of Canada’s general counsel consider diversity policies when retaining external firms. And when law firms know that diversity is important to their clients, it draws them in and creates a bigger platform for change. Have you been successful?

Well, we started the group two years ago with three members. Today, there are over 60 general counsel at top companies across Canada that have committed to the goals of Legal Leaders for Diversity. This group of companies represents the largest and most influential companies across Canada, spanning a diversity in companies and geographies that represents the Canadian landscape. In my view, yes, we’ve been successful, but there’s so much more work to do. What do you say to those considering committing to Legal Leaders for Diversity’s goals?

Maintaining a diverse employee base, one that reflects all aspects of a community, isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s a powerful business advantage. Companies that advance and adopt diversity and inclusiveness polices will be that much more responsive, resilient, and successful in meeting the complex challenges that lie ahead in a competitive global environment. _a

A message from norton rose fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is Canada’s only truly global international legal practice. With close to 700 lawyers based in Calgary, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Québec, Caracas, and Bogotá, we are one of the largest practices in Canada. Our six key industry sectors are financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and pharmaceuticals and life sciences. A message from brownlee llp

Brownlee LLP has proudly represented the interests of Acklands-Grainger Inc. for over 30 years throughout Western Canada. We are genuinely honoured to be able to continue this close, constructive, and long-standing relationship, and support Kevin Derbyshire and the rest of the AGI team in all aspects of AGI’s operations.

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Norton Rose Fulbright congratulates Kevin Derbyshire on the recognition of his contribution to the success of Acklands-Grainger. Life’s brighter under the sun Sun Life Financial Group Retirement Services


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3800 lawyers | 54 offices | 6 continents | 1 vision

the experts

“Be prepared to invest so that customer levels are not static but superior.” Beyond the Rack’s CTO, Ted Guglielmi, shares what’s innovative and in the works for the all-star online retailer Interview by Michelle Markelz


sale is already an exciting experience for shoppers, but add in the elements of time and exclusivity, and the bargain hunt becomes a feeding frenzy. That’s the idea behind Montréal-based Beyond the Rack, an e-commerce club that hosts 48-hour sales, during which members can save up to 80 percent on designer brands. Consistent traffic growth of 70 percent per year suggests the founders had the right idea from the beginning, but it’s CTO Ted Guglielmi’s job to continuously improve the buyer experience for the booming site. Below, he takes time out of his busy schedule to chat with us.

Advantage: What are some of the improvements you’ve made to Beyond the Rack?

Ted Guglielmi: We’ve done a lot of work to make our operations fail-safe. Many of our partners use cloud services, and if one of them should go down—as we experienced last year with our partners on the cloud—historically, we would go down with them until solutions were implemented. We’ve addressed this by distributing our load across multiple locations so that in

ted guglielmi

Talking Points



Staying competitive o ct / n o v / d e c 2013

Improving your efforts

The golden rule for customer service

the experts

the event of a system failure in one location, we can fall back on another. While we are taking action to resolve the problem, our site never loses availability, and the whole process is seamless to the customer. I’m really proud of the homegrown solutions we’ve developed, but we also implemented some off-the-shelf technology that’s allowing us to continue to grow and maintain a high-quality customer experience.

“If you respond to a customer-service issue in a satisfactory and timely manner, you’ll get the customer back, hand over fist.” —Ted Guglielmi, CTO

What solutions did you choose, and how have they benefited the site?

One of the differentiating factors of e-commerce is performance. As people click from page to page, the site has to be ultra fast and secure. The Akamai products we chose, Aqua Web and Kona Security solutions, are what I’d call “tier-one solutions”—proven industry

Ted Guglielmi’s Career Milestones 1996–1999 Gains experience as the director of technology at Hartco Inc., managing a large staff with multiple divisions in a public company

1999–2000 Works primarily with customer interfacing as the VP of professional services at Essentus

2001–2005 Taps into his entrepreneurial skills as an independent consultant serving 30 clients with business needs such as ERP selection, operations, and technology systems

2005–2009 Gets his first experience managing systems at a high-volume e-tailer as CTO of

2012 Lands his current position as CTO of Beyond the Rack

standards that, once you implement [them], you don’t have to give a second thought. We have grown to such a volume that the time was right to put in these tools to help with performance and security. Since implementation, our page-rendering speeds have increased 50 percent, and there have been no breaches in security. How is Beyond the Rack differentiating itself among e-tailers?

We’re a very nimble business that can react to what customers are telling us. We measure users’ interaction with the site on a daily basis and take action to improve the experience. For example, we’ve enhanced our photography on the site to provide multiple images and perspectives of our products where previously we only had one. We’re about to launch video as well, which we think will really enhance the shopping experience. I’m also very proud to offer our members a 24-hour shipping window that they won’t get on other sites. If a member buys shoes during a morning sale and comes back in the afternoon to buy a dress, we only charge shipping once. What’s the next improvement members can expect from the site?

Everyone knows the frustration an out-ofstock item brings. Obviously, we can’t have unlimited inventory, but we’re taking steps to address that frustration. We’ve been more aggressive in bringing in the quantities we need, but we’re also planning to launch a

wish-list feature, so if someone misses out on a product, they can add it to their wish list, and should someone cancel an order or make a return, we can offer it to someone on that wish list. What’s your golden rule for customer service?

Do it well. There will always be customer problems you have to address; an order will be late or incorrect. If you respond to a customer-service issue in a satisfactory and timely manner, you’ll get the customer back, hand over fist. But if you can’t, you’ll lose them forever. Be prepared to invest so that customer levels are not static but superior. _a

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the experts

“I want to make sure everyone has fun—but in an environment where great processes are in place to support them.” Wilton Damas, COO and VP of operations at Open Door Technology, helps workers do their best Interview by Kristina Anderson


Photo: Jenn Roach

here do former whiz kids end up? Some create killer social media networks or found iconic computer companies such as Apple. Others, including Wilton Damas, simply find themselves opening doors for customers by combining technological expertise and people skills. Here, the COO and VP of operations for Open Door Technology Inc. talks about finding solutions for his company’s long list of clients and putting together the right staff to do the job.

Advantage: Tell me about Open Door Technology.

Wilton Damas: Open Door Technology is a gold-certified Microsoft ERP partner and a multiple winner of Microsoft’s President’s Club award. We provide integrated software solutions for accounting and operations for a variety of industries, mainly equipment rental, wholesale distribution, job shops, oil field service, and not-for-profit customers, mostly in the US and Canada. First, we try to understand their needs and configure the system to best meet their requirements. Our success has led to Open Door having one of the largest Dynamics ERP customer bases in North America.

wilton damas

Sounds like something that would require a bit of a commitment on behalf of the customer. Do you have lots of long-term clients?

Talking Points

Partnering with Microsoft

Cultivating company culture

Finding the right employees

The future of software advantage

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the experts

“I would say I focus on finding people with the same values as I have and that the company has.”

between 7 and 10 years. We allow people to be creative and feel rewarded for a job well done. We listen to them and respect them while providing processes to ensure their success.

—Wilton Damas, COO & VP of Operations

Tell me about your background. How did you get started in this field?

Well, I started my career as a developer when I was a teenager. I was a programmer, network administrator, implementer, and IT manager for some very large international companies. I’ve also managed very complex and highly visible projects for Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft, Dell, Sony, and TELUS. But my first love has always been on the entrepreneurial side. We do. Some have been with us a really long time. We provide many services. We offer development, support, and training for the financial clients. For their sales and marketing departments, we offer customized CRMs and mobility solutions. How long have you been in business?

Since 1992, so about 20 years. In 2002, we became a Microsoft partner after it acquired Navision, a software company from Denmark. [Microsoft provides] the technology solutions, and we help the customer implement them.

What sorts of entrepreneurial projects have you developed?

Wilton Damas’s Career Milestones 1990 Graduates from Gama Filho University with a bachelor’s of business administration

1994 Graduates from Veiga de Almeida University with a bachelor’s of computer science

Describe your company culture.


Fun. Challenging. I want to make sure everyone has fun—but in an environment where great processes are in place to support them. We hire people who really love what they do, and we cultivate an environment to help employees collaborate creatively. I believe that is the key to success: listen to their ideas, make sure they are treated well, and get them to grow, express their creativity, and do their best. We have around 35 [workers] in two offices, in Calgary and Vancouver.

Starts first business, eventually selling it five years later to a large retail group

How do you recruit good employees?

I would say I focus on finding people with the same values as I have and that the company has. Number one is integrity. Number two is to be good at what you do. Very important. We’ve had employees who have been with us since the beginning, but the average is 36


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2000 Receives an MBA from Fundação Getúlio Vargas

2005 Graduates from the University of British Columbia with a certificate in project management; receives a PMP from the Project Management Institute

2007 Begins successful delivery of complex multimillion-dollar projects for Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft, Dell, Sony, and TELUS

2011 Becomes COO, VP of operations, and a partner at Open Door Technology

While still in my 20s, I created a business that I am still very, very proud of. The business included two divisions: one for custommanufacturing computers for customers and the second composed of a chain of retail stores selling computer hardware and software. This was before Dell began manufacturing customized computers and 15 years before Apple stores came into being with their white, high-concept retail environment. Five years later, the company was acquired by a large retail group. Where do you see your industry headed?

My industry is changing all the time. One example is cloud-based computing. Although currently only about 10 percent is cloudbased, I believe it will increase substantially in the future. Even though there are many challenges involved, cloud-based computing has several advantages, which the marketplace is now starting to appreciate. Who or what are your inspirations?

Inspirations are around me every moment. It comes from working with great people—energetic, successful people at the top of their field. I’m also inspired by people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. They started in their garage from nothing and built something great. Their success was about what they loved and their passions. _a

Photo: Max Yatsenko

the experts

“In our economy, nothing moves without insurance.” John L. Pastor, president and partner at Mitchell Sandham Pastor, discusses the vitality of his trade Interview by Benjamin van Loon


erhaps because he was born into the business, John Pastor doesn’t look at insurance as just a job. Indeed, for the president and partner at Mitchell Sandham Pastor insurance brokerage, the work seems to have become an entire lifestyle. As a registered insurance broker of Ontario, a Canadian-accredited insurance broker (CAIB), and a Rotary Club member, he stays in tune with the dynamic tenor of his industry on multiple fronts. Recently he sat with Advantage to discuss the satisfaction his efforts bring him.

Talking Points

How insurance informs economics

Transitioning a family business

Advantage: Your educational background is in economics, and your professional background is in insurance. There are some obvious connections here, but what in particular drives your interest in insurance?

John Pastor: In our economy, nothing moves without insurance. Our economy relies on a profitable and sustainable insurance industry. And as brokers, we play a key role by offering choices, educating our clients on products, and purchasing the coverage on their behalf. In doing that, we help to ensure competition within the industry, which also helps to spur product innovation. But beyond that, I fell into this business because my dad was in insurance as I grew up. It was natural for me. When I was a kid, I would go with him to his office on Saturdays, when it was just a one-man operation, and I’d help clean and maintain the office. I just grew into the business from there. What are some of the milestones that led you to your current partnership at Mitchell Sandham Pastor?

When I came out of undergrad, I immediately joined what advantage

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the experts

was then my family’s firm, in 1988. I learned the business from the ground up while I was there. I got my insurance license then, too. I began selling and servicing personalized insurance for home and automobile, but then my interests started to lean more towards the commercial side, so I developed expertise and knowledge in this area. I got involved with some accreditation courses, such as [the CAIB program], and obtained a fully unrestricted license so that I would be ready for any eventuality. As time went on, my dad was looking to retire and was looking for an exit plan. Through a prior insurance brokerage acquisition I had done with my dad, I met Peter Mitchell, and he had a brokerage [Mitchell Sandham Inc.] with Norm Sandham. I was looking at how I could buy the business from my dad on a basis that could allow me to continue to grow it and not be saddled with too much debt. Peter Mitchell and I had numerous conversations and found an opportunity that worked for my dad, myself, and for Mitchell Sandham. We then formed Mitchell Sandham Pastor in 1999.

John L. Pastor’s Career Milestones 1984–1988 Earns a BA in economics and history from the University of Toronto

1988–1991 Serves as an account manager for Pastor & March Insurance Brokers, Inc.

1991–1993 Becomes a Canadian-accredited insurance broker and is promoted to commercial lines account manager at Pastor & March

1993–1999 Climbs to vice president at Pastor & March

1999–Present Joins with Mitchell Sandham Inc. to form the company Mitchell Sandham Pastor, which then purchases Pastor & March



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“You need sound, fundamental knowledge of the principles of insurance, and then you need to couple that with the understanding of the exposures facing your customers.” —John L. Pastor, President & Partner

You insure people in a variety of different fields. Is it challenging providing so many insurance options?

Insurance is constantly evolving. There have been many changes over the years: lots of coverage enhancements, new lines of insurance to cover, new and emerging exposures such as cyber liability. You never stop in this industry. You need sound, fundamental knowledge of the principles of insurance, and then you need to couple that with [an] understanding of the exposures facing your customers. This has to do with the conversation and the relationship with your clients—asking the right questions, coming away with a solid understanding of the exposures, and applying your knowledge to arrange that coverage. We work with a lot of IT consultants and hospitality [clients], for example, and we’re very familiar with these areas. Can you elaborate on how your community work connects to your professional life?

For the past 20 years, our business has been located in Mississauga, Ontario, where we’ve prospered. I feel a huge commitment to our community and have a big desire to give back. For many years, I’ve been involved through Rotary in many fund-raising activities, and I’ve also participated on the board of directors and chaired the committee responsible for making recommendations to the club on which charities or projects the club should be supporting. Whether it’s handing out a check from the club to someone deserving and in need, or a check from our insurance company making someone whole after a claim, I’m happy to be part of such a positive process. What else satisfies you about your work?

I’ve developed a lot of great relationships

in this business. That’s what the business is about. The clients I’ve been dealing with since I started—and many were clients in my father’s brokerage for years before that—the relationships I have with these people are incredibly satisfying. I’ve learned about various industries and how businesses operate, and I’ve met extremely interesting people. I get a sense of satisfaction putting together a competitive insurance program for them that meets their needs and gives them the peace of mind that insurance provides. What are you looking forward to accomplishing in the coming years?

There has been a huge push for technological advancements within the industry and in the way we communicate with our insurance companies to better service the needs of our clients. We’ve invested fairly heavily in our technology and in our website so that our clients have various ways to communicate with us. Over the years, we’ve built a solid reputation for being advocates for our clients, and the referrals we get to grow our business are a big testament to that. I’m looking forward to building on that reputation and looking for ways to add even more value to the relationships we have with our clients. That’s key. _a

A message from rsa

RSA is proud of its long-standing business relationship with John Pastor and Mitchell Sandham Pastor. The success of our partnership is due in part to the fact that both organizations share the same guiding principles. Mitchell Sandham Pastor is a service-oriented brokerage, and they pride themselves on strong relationships with their customers. On behalf of RSA, we wish John Pastor and his team continued success.

Since 1957



Where do you go from here? In business, opportunity doesn’t always come to you. It takes the right strategic plan and thought leadership to go out and find it. Contact Jeremy Cole, CA, CBV, Regional Managing Partner at 416.596.1711 or

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How Mash + Media Restructured for Greater Integration Six measures Shawn Klerer has implemented to help put the marketing firm back on track By Benjamin van Loon Focus on new markets

Clean out the cobwebs

Phil Kotler, a veteran professor at the Kellogg School of Management, once said, “Marketing takes a day to learn. Unfortunately, it takes a lifetime to master.” It’s a trade in which one is never completely done learning—especially now, as new technologies and strategies come into play. There are so many ways you can market your company, and if you don’t do it properly, you could be throwing that money away,” says Shawn Klerer, CEO and CFO of Toronto’s Mash + Media. “Not to mention, marketing has evolved, and you need to consider these new media.” Klerer and his team work to keep pace with the industry and stay sharp. “Part of our strategy is to really focus on the social and digital market and to offer a variety of services so our customers don’t need to shop around,” Klerer says. “We can do everything in one place.”

Klerer’s background is in the world of corporate financing, but as he got more interested in entrepreneurial business, he came across an opportunity presented by Quorum, a private equity company that has Mash + Media in its portfolio. It was 2011, and according to Klerer, Quorum needed someone who could help Mash + Media become what it originally set out to be. “It was financially underperforming, and it was not reaching its full growth potential,” Klerer says. Along with the dedicated staff already working at Mash + Media, Klerer set out to first redress the gaps that had opened in the company’s infrastructure. “We had to eliminate unnecessary costs that were hampering the organization,” he says. While not exactly glamourous, it was the sort of housekeeping the company was long overdue for. The sweep included downsizing office and warehouse spaces, implementing processes to ensure proper spending, and improving billing processes.


Rightsize physical space By specifically correcting physical costs, including office and warehouse space, Klerer was able to improve other nonquantifiable assets. The slimmed-down, stand-alone office space proved to be vastly more conducive to employee collaboration and morale, for instance, and the new, smaller warehouse space was more proximal to Mash + Media’s biggest warehouse customer. “It was a big improvement because not only were we thrilling our customers and our shareholders, but the employees were happier, too,” Klerer says. “It was a win-win-win situation.”



advantage advantage

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“Part of our strategy is to really focus on the social and digital market and to offer a variety of services so our customers don’t need to shop around.” —Shawn Klerer, CEO & CFO

Game Plan

Understand the narrative Mash + Media’s history also plays a major role in the direction Klerer is helping to take the company in. Mash + Media has been in business in various shapes and sizes for a number of years. The current configuration was established in 2009, and the business has retained a world-class core of customers that it partners with on numerous and diverse offerings. At one time, Mash was a publicly traded entity, and it’s presently exploring returning to that status, but the key focus at the moment is growth and expanding its reach outside the Canadian borders.


Implement a strategy After Klerer signed on, Mash + Media instituted a strategy to transform itself into a global growth company by focusing on social and digital services and launching a joint venture. Regarding the former, Klerer says, “What makes Mash + Media unique is that we’re fully integrated, especially from a digital angle. As an example, for Ford, one of our largest clients, we do print, warehouse storage, fulfillment, have an internal call centre, [and we’re] running their programs and managing their internal communications.” The joint venture, formed in cooperation with New York’s Carrot Creative, complements the integrated digital strategy. The result is a company called CropUp, which offers an online platform for clients to monetize their social media presence. “We’re focusing on sports-and-entertainment properties with huge fan bases and are providing a way to incorporate unique offerings into social media platforms while creating an easy experience for the purchaser,” Klerer says.


Making a world of difference. TELUS is dedicated to innovation and leveraging technology to create healthier communities. We are building technologically advanced and environmentally friendly work places that support our dedication to moving information and ideas instead of people, vehicles and paper. This is why we are leveraging the most advanced telecommunications technology available and enabling our employees to work where, when and how it makes sense for them and our valued customers. See how we are making a difference at

Plan ahead “This is my first time in the entrepreneurial sector, and it’s a much different world,” Klerer says. “There are different pressures and demand for quicker results.” Through his various reengineering initiatives, however, the change in Mash + Media’s bottom line, year over year, has significantly increased. With a newfound focus on digital, social, and joint ventures, Klerer looks forward to Mash + Media opening a new creative studio in New York and expects both top- and bottom-line growth for 2013. “We’re heading in an exciting direction,” Klerer says, “and it’s not the kind of thing that would have been possible without a dedicated and growing team here at Mash + Media.”


A message from mnp

Having worked closely with Shawn Klerer on a number of MASH + MEDIA audits, I know him to be very knowledgeable, articulate and easy going. Our end product is high quality because Shawn makes sure we have all the information we need to do our jobs effectively.

advantage o ct / n o v / d e c 2013 © 2013 TELUS. 13_00235.


the innovators

Lessons in Connections Andrea Goertz is helping TELUS’s employees work from home, and she’s building better offices for those who still commute By Lisa Ryan


ith so many people around the globe now virtually depen- nationwide giant and global leader it is today, with services ranging from wireless and data to television and high-speed dent on 24-hour news, streaming video, and constant contact Internet to health care. with friends, innovative telecommunications companies such However, all that growth has meant handling more as TELUS Corporation have emerged as key players, keep- employees—40,000, to be specific—who collaboratively ing people connected with the simple click of a mouse or the swipe of a finger across a touch screen. Andrea Goertz, helped TELUS earn $10.9 billion in revenue in 2012 alone. who serves as senior vice president, strategic initiatives, and chief communication “We’ve outperformed our global peers since 2000, generating an outstanding 233 percent total shareholder return and sustainability officer of TELUS, joined the company 23 years ago and has over the past 13 years,” Goertz says. The company has been seen it grow from a regional West Coast communications organization into the able to yield such positive results partially because of its innovative work culture. In an attempt to cut down on office costs while maintaining a strong and thriving workA model of the TELUS Garden, force, TELUS has implemented a mobile workplace prothe company’s one-milliongram called Work Styles that enables its team members to square-foot headquarters in work remotely across the country. The goal is to have 70 Vancouver, which will feature percent of the company’s staff working on a mobile basis, a 24-storey office tower, a 53-storey residential tower, either from home or elsewhere, by 2015. and new retail and outdoor In order to reach this ambitious goal, Goertz herself public space. is working closely with TELUS’s human resources department to help adjust the company culture to better support a mobile team, ensuring staff members have access to the necessary tools to stay connected. “We undertook this shift to evolve our policies and perspectives and to leverage our technology, in order to foster increased efficiency, cost savings, and team engagement,” Goertz says. “As a result, we’ve been able to save $40 million a year with about 60 percent of our team members working on a mobile basis. And when we achieve our steady state, we are anticipating a savings of $50 million a year.” At the same time, Goertz is overseeing the company’s real estate portfolio and making sure that those who don’t work remotely still work in comfort. She is at the forefront of TELUS’s efforts to build environmentally friendly and technologically advanced office spaces that encourage innovation and creativity, and she first took on stewardship of the company’s properties seven years ago, when their siting was more scattershot. “Every time TELUS made an acquisition, the real estate of the company came along with that,” Goertz says. At one point, the company had more than 15 different locations in the Greater Toronto Area alone. In order to merge the cultures of the different acquisitions and bring the newly formed team into a consolidated area, Goertz spearheaded development of one of the country’s first major LEED Platinum–certified office towers, in Toronto. “The opportunity inspired us to have the courage to innovate and collaborate and make a statement for our brand,” she says.



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“We’ve been able to save $40 million a year with about 60 percent of our team members working on a mobile basis.” —Andrea Goertz, Senior VP, Strategic Initiatives, Chief Communication & Sustainability Officer

Goertz is now immersed in an even larger real estate project on the West Coast at the company’s headquarters, in downtown Vancouver. The one-million-square-foot TELUS Garden will feature a 24-storey office tower, a 53-storey residential tower, and new retail and outdoor public space. Such high-profile projects are proving that the company, when it does need space for on-site employees, can build responsibly. “Once the development is completed, we will have done something architecturally significant to transform an aging downtown block,” Goertz says. “We began with humble real estate projects, but because of the confidence that we built within our team and the credibility that we’ve earned, we’ve been able to embark on these exciting legacy projects for the benefit of our company, our team, and the citizens where we operate.” _a

A message from steelcase

As a strategic partner, Steelcase has been helping TELUS develop a workplace strategy that has resulted in a five percent productivity improvement. Steelcase brings human insight to business by studying how people work, wherever they work. Those insights can help organizations achieve a higher level of performance, by creating places that unlock the promise of their people. A message from kasian

Kasian commends the vision of Andrea Goertz and the TELUS team as they continue to redefine the way people communicate and conduct business. Through intelligent, thoughtful design, people experience TELUS’s brand promise and savvy technology, designed inherently in their future-friendly workplace. Congratulations, and cheers to the future.

5 questions with Andrea Goertz 1. What does innovation mean to your company? Innovation is at the heart of everything we do, whether we’re helping citizens stay connected, transforming health care by bringing patientcentred applications to the market, developing LEED-certified buildings, being recognized for our environmental efforts, or helping businesses optimize their operations. 2. Is there a technology, trend, or idea that’s driving your company forward? To deliver leading-edge products and services for our customers and provide them with the fastest wireless service in the world. 3. How does technology drive innovation? Our teleconferencing and videoconferencing solutions are enabling our team to collaborate effectively, moving ideas instead of people to also reduce our carbon footprint. Our new intelligent Internet data centres are supporting growth opportunities in cloud

computing for our wireline and wireless clients, and our Telehealth solutions are enabling patients in rural communities to have access to leading medical care. 4. Where do you hope this innovation will lead you in the next five years? The TELUS team is committed to consistently putting our customers first on our journey to become the most recommended company in the markets we serve. We are achieving this through exceptional client interactions and by fostering innovation throughout our team and company. 5. How do you cultivate innovation within your workforce? There’s a certain tolerance for mistakes and learning and quickly moving on to what the right solution is, if you didn’t quite get it 100 percent out of the gate. I think that kind of culture really inspires future innovation and future growth and attracts the right talent to thrive in this industry.


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the innovators

A Quick Takeoff Sadiq S. Adatia and Sun Life Global’s unusual approaches in the mutualfund sector have generated major immediate profits By Hilary Sutton


5 questions with Sadiq S. Adatia 1. What does innovation mean to your company? Innovation is not only about new products but also about great marketing ideas that make things clearer and easier to understand. Being innovative is coming up with different ideas and solutions that meet clients’ needs.

2. Is there a technology, trend, or idea that’s driving your company forward? A trend that is driving us forward is Sun Life Global Investments’ high-performance culture. When we bring people on board, we find the best people across different industries. We find people who are thinking outside of the box.

Photo: Pirak Studios

here are a lot of sloppy metaphors thrown around in the business world, but when Sadiq S. Adatia likens the client experience at Sun Life Global Investments (Canada) Inc. to putting an airplane in the hands of a trusted pilot, it makes immediate sense. “When you’re in a plane and all of a sudden there’s turbulence, the pilot comes on to tell you to buckle up your seat belt, as it may be a bumpy ride,” he says. “Our job as the pilot of your investment portfolio is to reduce the turbulence that you feel so that the experience is more comfortable. In the end, you get to your goals with a better outcome and less volatility.” Sun Life Global was established in 2010 as a division of Sun Life Financial, one of Canada’s most well-known financial-services companies. As chief investment officer, Adatia has helped guide the division to staggering success through equal parts of innovation and brand trust, and after a little more than two years, the mutual-fund company has gone

3. How do you innovate on a day-to-day basis? By paying attention to what’s going on in the marketplace, seeing new things happening, discovering better ways to protect capital, and adding value. 4. How has the notion of innovation changed in the past decade? When you go back 10 years ago, many of the products that worked then no longer work today. You have to always innovate with the

future in mind and not the past. You also have to be able to adapt to changing market conditions. 5. What defines an innovative company in the 21st century? Being flexible. Having an understanding that your products need to evolve. They may need tweaks. It means being ahead of the curve and constantly talking to clients. Client conversations help build better solutions.


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Our unique combination of integrated solutions and award-winning client service works together to support your business growth.

Learn more at ® / ™ Trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence. *Trademark of RBC Investor Services Limited. 46


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“Our job as the pilot of your investment portfolio is to reduce the turbulence that you feel so that the experience is more comfortable.” —Sadiq S. Adatia, Chief Investment Officer

from nothing to $6.4 billion in client-managed assets. In essence, the plane has already reached cruising altitude. Sun Life Global claims to bring its clients the best in asset management through innovative solutions, and Adatia says these solutions are typically created as a result of client needs. “Investors and clients are not looking for plain vanilla funds anymore,” he says. The key to Sun Life Global’s model is the best-of-breed approach, where managers with expertise in a particular asset class are chosen to manage a specific component of the portfolio. “No one manager can do every asset class exceptionally well, so we use multiple managers from the around the world,” Adatia says. “It is like creating an all-star lineup of managers, which gives our clients the best chance of outperforming.” Sun Life Global also differs from other investment companies in that its strategy includes both actively and passively managed portfolios. “There is an opportunity for both in the marketplace,” Adatia says. “We don’t have a bias either way. If we see the market being really expensive and with higher risk, we will dial down that risk in the portfolio. When the risk is cheap and the reward high, we’ll add to the risk. As such, we’re managing the turbulence in the portfolio so that clients don’t have to worry about it.” Additionally, Adatia and his team have a keen eye for developing trends in the marketplace. “Today we see opportunity in the income space,” he says. “Recently, we launched five new funds in that category.” It helps that all this outside-thebox thinking is further promoted by Sun Life Global’s leader. “Our president, Rick

Headrick, has emphasized, ‘Let’s be innovative, cutting-edge, ahead of the marketplace, and client-focused,’” Adatia says. Under Headrick and Adatia’s leadership, the company has landed clients who have come to expect strong performance in a risk-controlled framework. Even though the Canadian market is currently skittish and “starting to soften,” says Adatia, he’s optimistic because he knows it’s only a matter of time before things turn around. “Opportunities tend to present themselves during these times,” Adatia says. “We see opportunities in the US and emerging markets. These are areas that have gone through a tough environment and are now beginning to turn the corner.” In the meantime, Sun Life Global is committed to protecting its clients’ capital. “I want our clients to feel very comfortable investing with us,” Adatia says. “Because of our trusted name and reputation, we have been able to have success in a very short time. Listening to our clients and bringing innovative solutions to them has been a winning strategy and one that we intend on continuing.” _a

A message from rbc investor services

For over 15 years, RBC Investor Services has worked with Sun Life Financial to support its growing and innovative global business—including custodial services for Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada’s general, segregated fund and employee stock plan assets, and mutual-fund services for Sun Life Global investments. This long-term partnership reflects a shared focus and commitment to excellence.

the innovators

Back on the Fairway Trevor Smith of IGM is helping mismanaged golf clubs find their footing again after the recession By Jeff Hampton


n golf, the player with the lowest score wins, and the business of golf is much the same, with the winning courses keeping their expenses low while still meeting customer expectations. Unfortunately, the sport’s elegance and tradition have not always attracted the best managers, and many courses have failed. “Golf has enough glamour that it attracts even the most astute businessperson to invest in something that they thought might work, that they liked— but maybe the glamour of it was greater than their ability to produce revenue in the end,” says Trevor Smith, principal of Innovative Golf Management Services (IGM), a firm that aims to keep the industry out of the rough by pointing courses to financial viability and stability. Based in Kamloops, British Columbia, IGM primarily works to make sure courses have the right people in place to manage their different elements: architecture and construction, landscape and horticulture, retail, food and beverage service, and hotel management. Smith came by his love of the game—and his understanding of the business—early. “My grandparents owned a farm and sold it to a developer on the premise that they build a golf course for the community,” he says. “So, from that moment on, I’ve been involved in golf.” Through an education that covered everything from irrigation to management and a career that placed him in various coursemanagement positions, he has learned the business from the ground up. “My objective was to develop a wellrounded background so that I could handle most of the issues that arise in the operation of a golf course,” Smith says. “As I went through my career, I put myself in positions where I could learn from the successes and mistakes of others.” Smith had a front-row seat in the late 1980s, when the game that was once confined mostly to private clubs became an anchor for community and resort developments. “There was a huge influx of golf courses being built, and there probably weren’t

“There was a huge influx of golf courses being built, and there probably weren’t enough qualified people to fill those management positions.” —Trevor Smith, Principal advantage

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IGM Services

Innovative Golf Management Services

INNOVATIVE GOLF MANAGEMENT SERVICES IGM’s ultimate goal is to maximize return to the client while ensuring the facility is positioned to grow earnings through a steadily increasing customer base coupled with cost containment. Our core values encompass appropriate course conditioning, customer service and the protection of the essential infrastructure.

“Providing exceptional course conditions and customer service is at the very core of our operational philosophy” Innovative Golf Management Services Ltd. #5-1810 Springhill Dr. Kamloops B.C Canada V2E-1P9

enough qualified people to fill those management positions, but when an economy is going well, it’s easy to make money,” he says. Then came the economic crash, “and now you had people who had never been in a depressed economy in the golf business, who didn’t know how to reduce expenses and achieve a sustainable business model,” he adds. Learning from what he witnessed, Smith started IGM in 2005. While there are other management consultants in the market, his biggest competition is actually the mindset of golf-course owners and managers. “It really is, ‘We’re in trouble, but we can get ourselves out of this on our own,’” he says. “One of the biggest problems is that the asset value of the golf course has dropped. In order to sustain your fixed expenses, your operation has to be able to run lean and efficiently.” Owners and managers also have to be held accountable. “One of the biggest issues

that an unsustainable business model has is that nobody in the management is taking any responsibility for the decisions that they make,” Smith says. The goal of IGM is not just making a course profitable for the short term but helping it achieve a long-term vision. To do that, the consultancy sometimes has to face its clients with hard truths. “I have no problem saying what it is that I feel is wrong with the business,” Smith says. “One of the things that I learned was that trying to placate someone’s wishes got me nowhere. I won’t take business if people want to have me reinforce poor ideas.” However, for courses that want to succeed and prosper, Smith is ready to help them find their swing again, so to speak. “There’s as much or more opportunity in the golf business as there ever was,” he says. “It just has to be looked at five or six degrees differently than it has been.” _a

5 questions with Trevor Smith 1. What does innovation mean to your company? We’ve all heard the saying: there are no new ideas in the world. Sometimes innovation is putting together different ideas from different disciplines and fields to energize an innovation in a separate field. 2. Is there a technology, trend, or idea that’s driving your company forward? It’s not the hard-goods stuff. It really is your human resource management side. That is still 65 percent of your expenses. The more efficient that they can become and the more understanding of all the disciplines in the business, the more effective they’ll be at creating sustainable revenue. 3. How do you innovate on a day-to-day basis? I’m very involved in all of the

associations of golf. I serve at the board level, and that is where I have the opportunity to push the human resource accountability. 4. Where do you hope this innovation will lead you in the next five years? I want to be involved with a group of forward-thinking golf course owners [and] managers and forwardthinking individuals to achieve a new vision for the game of golf. 5. How do you cultivate innovation among your workforce? Innovative Golf came to be by interconnecting with a group of people that shared the same ideologies and philosophies. We talk on a regular basis about what we feel the direction is, how tied we are to our initial philosophies, and how we lead people to where the opportunity is.

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Bringing the Community Back into the Equation Vancouver Community College’s president, Kathy Kinloch, employs a strategic relationship-building approach that connects students with the city By Tina Vasquez

Photo: Paul Joseph


s the only community college in Downtown Vancouver, Vancouver Community College (VCC) is uniquely sited to serve the city’s diverse, urban population. Its students, whose wide range of ages averages out to 32, come from more than 40 countries and speak 30 different languages, and 70 percent of them are women. And as a former COO, dean, and principal, VCC president Kathy Kinloch has the leadership experience needed to guide the school as it continues to embrace these many voices. “It’s a unique, special position to be in, and we never take it for granted,” Kinloch says. “It allows us to offer access and developmental programs to the students who need them the most. In a previous role, collaborating with postsecondary partners and reaching out to key players made a huge difference to the organization. I bring that more strategic approach with me to VCC.” The way Kinloch explains it, such tactical thinking brings focus to what needs to be done; it’s a vital way of filtering out the noise to find the “key threads” that will move the college forward toward impactful, innovative solutions. “Applying this leadership approach is vital to any organization, including VCC, as it moves forward,” the president says. “This approach should include naming the changes, delivering, resourcing, and measuring along the way. ” Under Kinloch’s watch, VCC has developed and enhanced existing partnerships with Downtown Eastside and East Vancouver community groups, organizations, and businesses. This means that once students obtain the education and training they had set out to receive at VCC, they then have built-in relationships in their own communities—relationships that can further or sometimes even jump-start their careers.

View of VCC’s Broadway campus, which features a new concourse for student interaction.

“In terms of innovation, our real strength comes from strong applied partnerships and collaborative ventures,” Kinloch says. “Our goal is always to help our students and provide them with meaningful applied work and learning experiences. We’re able to do that by partnering with others who provide a different point of view, new thoughts, and new opportunities for learning—that’s applied innovation. For VCC faculty and staff, this commitment calls for open dialogue and actively seeking out new experiences for our students with our industry and community partners. It’s also about staying on top of the pulse of the community.”

Connecting the college and the local community has resulted in some pretty interesting initiatives, including VCC’s increasingly popular Christmas in January, an annual event that has the college’s many culinary students whipping up a feast for those in need. In January 2013, the culinary students, staff, and volunteers served lunch to more 1,700 people, using food donated by local stores and organizations. “There are many people in need in Downtown Vancouver, and this was our way of acknowledging that,” Kinloch says. “Everyone wants to help during the holiday season, but what happens after the festivities advantage

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the innovators

die down? The community helps us, and we recognize the importance of giving back.” Kinloch has managed to make major strides in just three years at VCC, and one of her biggest actions yet has been the implementation of the school’s student-focused Strategic Plan. When she arrived in 2010, the college didn’t have a plan, but with the support of faculty, staff, and students, she obtained feedback from more than 2,000 external and internal college voices. The feedback helped shape VCC’s 2011–2014 goals with a better understanding of what its students need to succeed. “Everything we do moving forward will be with the students’ voice in mind,” Kinloch says. “We want to be known as a student-centred college in an urban centre. I want to continue advancing the role of VCC in the postsecondary system in our community so that we continue to remain relevant and meet all of our students’ education and career needs.” _a

Congratulations to Kathy Kinloch on her leadership, vision and outstanding achievements. Harris & Company LLP Proud legal advisors to Vancouver Community College

Harris and Company LLP is the largest management-side law firm in Western Canada that specializes in labour, employment and all other aspects of workplace law.

Workplace Law



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5 questions with Kathy Kinloch 1. Is there a technology, trend, or idea that’s driving VCC forward? The most relevant trends for VCC are the increasing numbers of newcomers to Canada, for whom VCC is often the ideal educational solution. The move towards real-world, job-ready skills that meet labour market needs is exactly the kind of education we offer. 2. How do you innovate on a day-to-day basis? Relationships and collaboration, both within and beyond the classroom. We are increasingly leveraging our relationships with industry leaders and community organizations to enhance the traditional on-campus experience. 3. How has the notion of innovation changed in the past five years? Today, more than ever, innovation has to be self-funded. Like many organizations, VCC is working within a finite budget, and we need to ensure we can engage in new revenue

opportunities while meeting the needs of our students. 4. How do you cultivate innovation among your students? We know that higher education has the potential to change lives. Our role at VCC is to provide accessible and affordable education while making sure our students have the support they need to lead positive change. 5. How do you encourage innovation without breaking the bank? Many VCC programs are intended to provide a pathway to employment. Our students are highly engaged in student-run operations within the college, and community members have shown they are eager to purchase goods and services provided through student innovation. We have two highly successful restaurants staffed by students, we offer salon and spa services provided by students, and we hold an annual jewelry sale showcasing students’ work.

the innovators

The Plastic Pushers An open market and popular features have helped CEO Dave Eason sell Berkeley Payment Solutions’ reloadable, prepaid Visa gift cards By Colleen Kant

Photo: Claudio Bacinello


ave Eason already had a significant financial background and a­ware­ness of the relatively uncrowded prepaid-gift-card market, so he was a natural fit to join Berkeley Payment Solutions (BPS), which provides plans for, launches, and manages prepaid Visa card programs for more than 500 corporate, governmental, and financial clients. Founded by Jonathon Hamburg, the Toronto-based firm hired Eason as its CEO around the time of its inception, and for the past seven years, he has retained his position, helping the company grow in key markets, including the United States. “I really loved doing something entrepreneurial that’s new to the market,” Eason says. “Berkeley is innovative.” An economics graduate of the University of British Columbia, Eason also holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, and his background includes a stint as director of the American Express Global Corporate Client Group, where he saved the company and its clients tens of millions of dollars in savings. In BPS, he saw an opportunity to leverage his experience in “an evolving and exciting growth segment,” he says. Knowing that the firm was going into an emerging strategy that had seen significant growth in the United States, Eason helped BPS focus on a “strong value product,” ensuring that the card provider would have the most efficient model ready to go when it took off. “The way we launched this product and partnered was a win-win for everybody,” Eason says. “We didn’t necessarily have to go out and try to convince clients of the value of

“We didn’t necessarily have to go out and try to convince clients of the value of prepaid cards, since there are so many obvious applications.” —Dave Eason, CEO advantage

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“The payments space is rapidly evolving with big players like Google and PayPal vying for a dominant position. For us to continue being successful requires agility and responsiveness to shifting client and customer expectations.” —Dave Eason, CEO

prepaid cards since there are so many obvious applications and business benefits for them in the corporate world.” A key selling point of BPS’s product is that companies see the multiple-use cards as a way to motivate employees, who will more likely notice a gift-card bonus than an extra $50 in their bank accounts. “A major segment that we compete in is corporate incentives, like with Nissan or Samsung,” Eason says. “Our clients distribute branded cards to their employees or to customers as a reward or a thank you. It’s to provide recognition outside of direct pay or to reward them for performance. Plus, every

time someone uses the card, there’s strong brand recognition and association at the point of redemption.” BPS also assists companies such as Ford and Energizer in giving the prepaid gift cards to customers instead of offering product discounts. According to Eason, granting discounts ultimately knocks revenue off companies’ bottom lines, and customers prefer tangible savings to an invisible price slash. “If you say, ‘Thank you for your business, from Nissan,’ and give [customers] a card,” he says, “it increases the sense of loyalty.” At the same time, Eason adds, BPS assists clients

in cutting down costs associated with regularly sending out checks, which the Canadian government now does for social-program disbursements. With such significant growth for the company within Canada and the United States, it seems inevitable that BPS will expand to other countries. It won’t happen immediately, Eason says, but it’s almost assured to happen when the company’s ready. “We have been approached a number of times by financial institutions that are looking for Berkeley to provide support out of Canada,” he says,” and when it’s the right time, we will pursue that.” _a

5 questions with Dave Eason 1. What does innovation mean to your company? Innovation is one of our core values. It’s something we have to do every day to keep our clients happy and our business profitable. This means we focus on adding value through small, continuous, and incremental ideas and improvements at the employee level and through larger strategic initiatives at the executive level. Everyone has a say. 2. Where do you hope this innovation will lead you in the next five years? The payments space is rapidly evolving with big players like Google and PayPal vying for a dominant position.



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For us to continue being successful requires agility and responsiveness to shifting client and customer expectations. 3. How can a company encourage innovation without breaking the bank? Innovation can be about small continual improvement, like people improving how they do their day-today. It’s the Japanese kaizen approach: constant, small improvements every day can lead to positive business transformation. 4. How do you innovate on a day-to-day basis?

Number one, we ensure that we’ve got an open communication loop running through all levels of the organization. Two, we have a close understanding of our client needs and continuously work at enhancing their experience. Three, we retain the best people to drive new technology, new products, and new processes. 5. Is there a technology, trend, or idea that’s driving your company forward? Many businesses get lost in the sound and fury of the latest tech innovations and forget that happy customers are the real indicators of a successful business.

DYNAMIC PREPAID CARD PROGRAMS … That’s what makes FIS the global leader.

What does it take to be the global leader in banking and payments technology? As the largest and most comprehensive provider of open-loop prepaid card services, FIS™ is at the forefront of this trend, providing robust, end-to-end solutions for development, processing and administration of prepaid programs. Our extensive prepaid processing solutions include account setup, call center support and everything in between. Whether you need a prepaid card solution for business or consumer use – feature-rich, end-to-end, market-ready programs from FIS provide you with affordable, easy-to-implement prepaid card programs that can start producing results quickly.


the innovators

No Software, No Problem Fulvio Ciano and Now Solutions Group’s new information-sharing technology could streamline the insurance- and financial-services industries By Tina Vasquez


magine this: a two-way business solution for passing information between an organization and its target user that requires no installations, no software downloads, no plug-ins, no security modifications, and no special configurations. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. It’s called EASX, it’s made by Now Solutions Group, and, as CEO Fulvio Ciano explains, it’s technology that completely takes “the paper out of paperwork.” His Toronto-based company is betting that the product will be a game changer for the insurance, financial, market-research, and educational industries. Ciano talks about EASX passionately and with a rapid-fire quickness, which he attributes to his Italian ancestry and his excitement about the technology—three years in the making. He spent 15 years in consumer software development and at high-tech upstarts before switching to the telecommunications industry, where he then spent the next decade. He can spot an emerging technology from a mile away, and when he met the creator of EASX while still in telecommunications, he immediately recognized its incredible potential. “I felt the need to be involved and [to] help bring the solution to others who could benefit,” Ciano says.

5 questions with Fulvio Ciano 1. What does innovation mean to your company? If the technology is doing its job properly, it should be an invisible and seamless part of the process. Our innovation is guided by three principles: simple is better, it has to be reliable, and it’s about people first. 2. Is there a technology, trend, or idea that’s



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driving your company forward? We take the paper out of paperwork. We sell proprietary business process solutions custom tailored to your vertical and further refined for your organization’s specific requirements. 3. How do you innovate on a day-to-day basis? We constantly ask ourselves

and our customers, how can we do better? It sounds easy, but it requires humility and discipline. 4. How do you cultivate innovation among your workforce? We carefully build out and support our team. Prospects are vetted to ensure they’re a good fit with our corporate culture. Our organization is built and managed by thinkers and business owners; no one is punching a time card, and everyone tangibly benefits from new innovations.

5. How can a company encourage innovation without breaking the bank? By recognizing the rewards of innovation and communicating them. Innovation does not need to be expensive. EASX is a prime example: it removes costs; it means less time and money spent on travel, fewer errors and fixes in order to meet compliance, and a faster, more convenient application process. All of this leads to higher productivity and a better customer experience.

example leading balance enhance understanding support workplace performance ensure


model striving

expand customer



class appropriate practices




safety highest committed


Now Solutions Group is innovating on another level, going beyond co-browsing— the simple ability to create an Internet session where two parties can share a browsing experience—by offering interfaces customized to the different needs and functions of experts and simple participants who have synced. Experts have detailed process-flow features, and participants have easy-to-use dashboards and displays. EASX also enables collaborative sessions to be replayed, allowing the opportunity to revisit all of what was said, done, or confirmed. Initially, Ciano says, the approach with the technology was, “Look at this cool thing we can do!” That changed quickly. The question soon became, “How can businesses benefit?” According to the CEO, the benefits of EASX are seemingly endless, from improving remote sales and customer service experiences, to increasing revenue, to lowering costs, to enabling comprehensive recording, tracking, and reporting of every customer interaction. “Any business that needs to collect data or fill out forms with their customers—and that is a lot of businesses—can benefit,” Ciano says. “Initially, we focused on insurance because it’s an industry full of forms and compliance needs. That being said, there are a lot of other businesses that could really benefit from the EASX solution. Our focus is now turning towards financial services. It is hard to get anything from a financial institution without filling out a form, and who wouldn’t like a faster, easier, and more helpful way of doing that?” Given the possibilities of co-browsing, it’s no surprise that there are a number of companies trying to create their own spin on the technology, but Now Solutions Group and EASX offer something more. According to Ciano, the business’s critical differentiators are its team and the simplicity and elegance of its patented technology. “Every member of our team understands and is devoted to our approach,” Ciano says. “We’re not selling a product; we’re offering a solution—a fusion of improved workflow processes and proprietary technology. We’ve taken two complex things and made them intuitive, easy, and more effective. Moving forward, we want to help more and more businesses in more and more markets benefit. We want to become the standard way businesses conduct non-face-to-face interactions.” _a

. .. S E L IP C IN R P R U O

innovate acceptance

exemplary stewardship


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How Wendy Gregg Built an Effective Management Team Six ways the HR manager prepared Aquatera to move from the public to the private sector By Kelli Lawrence

Get acclimated It was the uniqueness of the situation that initially appealed to Wendy Gregg when she took the HR job with Aquatera Utilities Inc. in 2007. The company had begun as a municipal department, providing water, wastewater, and solid-waste services to the Grande Prairie, Alberta, region, with all its HR decisions managed by the City of Grande Prairie. But when Gregg came on board, Aquatera was in the process of becoming a stand-alone, privately owned organization, so all the HR responsibilities shifted to her shoulders—a daunting, sudden load, to say the least. “First of all, I threw myself at the feet of the city HR department and said, ‘Help!’” she says with a laugh. “They helped me understand all the current policies and practices in place—how all the pieces fit together—which was good, because coming in totally green would’ve been overwhelming.”


Find out what’s important With Aquatera’s path established, it was critical for Gregg to do more than understand the spirit that set the company apart; she had to determine the right people to help embody that spirit. In doing so, she discovered that as important as it was for Aquatera employees to cover certain specialties, matching their principles and values with those of the company took precedence. She found herself looking for qualities such as a strong sense of respect, first-rate communication skills, and integrity about the quality of goods and services created. “So we really do look at fit; qualifications come second,” Gregg says. “And most of the time, we don’t have any problem following that rule. We tend to attract people who want to work in an organization like this.”



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MEET wendy gregg After starting her career as a nurse, then getting her degree in business administration with an HR focus, then spending 15 years in the nonprofit world of community services, Wendy Gregg applied to become Aquatera’s human resources manager out of sheer curiosity. It was a values-minded business that was not only evolving from its municipal roots but building its HR department from scratch. Gregg joined Aquatera in 2007, and she is also part of the Human Resources Institute of Alberta and is the board chair for the John Howard Society of Grande Prairie, AB.

Game Plan

Develop the department

Increase accountability

As Gregg defined an employee profile for Aquatera, the company’s metamorphosis from municipal utility to private company progressed, and one of the results of this was a more complex hierarchy of authority, with eight senior leadership team members leading a full-time staff of 110. “We created a whole financial management department, a functioning communications department, and did business development,” Gregg says, “and then we created still another layer of support for management in that some of the line managers have assistants now.” Meanwhile, Aquatera’s board of directors underwent a transformation of its own, switching from a set of “municipal counsellors” to a group of people with more experience in the business world. Gregg says this change helped provide a new outlook and focus for the company.

“It’s not that people weren’t doing their jobs before—they certainly were—but now we’re more publicly accountable,” Gregg says of Aquatera’s change from a utility department to a board-operated private enterprise. She speaks from experience, having arrived at “the top of the boom,” as she calls it, in 2007. Back then, healthy cash flow was as easy to come by as the city’s rapid growth (Grande Prairie’s population grew roughly 18 percent in the 2000s). Post-2008, though, the company is all but required to improve the planning, strategizing, and documentation of its practices. “The board [of directors] wants to know: Are we doing the right stuff? Are we doing it the right way? Are we being effective?” Gregg says. “And so the accountability is greatly increased.”



“We really do look at fit; qualifications come second.” —Wendy Gregg, HR Manager

Seek out adaptability When it came time to identify the leadership qualities needed in Aquatera’s new hires, descriptors such as approachable, forthright, and supportive were among those that Gregg kept an eye and an ear out for on résumés and during interviews. But above all was another word: flexibility. “Because we’re a small company, we have a lot of one-off kinds of jobs, like an HR manager or a purchasing coordinator,” Gregg says. “So if someone like that is going to be away, we need someone who can come in and pick up the work. So we really look for people who are flexible and can contribute to a team like that.”


Embrace the HR team effort Gregg is the first to recognize that none of the management-team selections are made by her alone. “Teams tend to do a lot of developing themselves,” she says. But with the Aquatera principles firmly in place, and with the valued input of existing staff, she’s proud of the choices made. “A lot of human relations processes are done within the work groups,” Gregg says. “We provide support, but they do the work. That’s what makes it possible to do HR as we’re doing it here.”


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At work with Canada’s business leaders








A P R I L / M AY/J U N E 2 0 13

+ Game Time


The Wine Seller

The Canadian Football League makes a smart move to promote the 100th year of the Grey Cup

Black Hills Estate Winery spills the secret to creating award-winning products and a second-to-none tasting experience

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The Real Deal Reality TV star and realty guru Tatiana Londono shares why her agency is the future of real estate

Smells Like Team Spirit



p. 20

Suit Yourself

TELUS’s Josh Blair shares his plan for creating one of the best workplaces in the country

p. 18

How the vast success of McDonald’s has made it one of Canada’s largest employers

p. 74

p. 108

p. 64

Maple Leaf Sports + Entertainment’s Mardi Walker discusses why her background has led her to her dream job


Think Fresh

THE NEW WAY TO WORK Home-furnishings empire The Brick’s workplace environment emphasizes team effort and lifelong learning > p. 102

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Sport ing Class

The Ottawa Housing Community works to provide housing and a better environment for those in need

With an investor like Steve Nash onboard, Indochino’s do-it-yourself business model is bursting at the seams with style and success p. 66


Closing the Door on Poverty

VOLUME 3, NO. 12


Food, Folks & Focus


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Not Your Garden Variety


in People The YMCA of Greater Toronto strengthens communities by creating healthy workplaces and positive career tracks p. 74

CEO Amelia Warren shares how Epicure Selections’ premium mix of corporate responsibility, environmental stewardship, and bettering the nation’s health has led to unprecedented success p. 16


Helping the Congo Prosper

PharmAfrican ensures the region’s vibrancy by investing botanical materials into business and international trade p. 139

FIGHTING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES The Canadian Federation of Independent Business cuts through the red tape of government rules and regulations > p. 111

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VOLUME 3, NO. 11

VOLUME 3, NO. 13

At work with Canada’s business leaders

SUBWAY Canada’s Kathleen Bell and seven other franchise leaders discuss what it takes to run and maintain a successful operation p. 68


KNOW THY MARKET SmartPoint Research > p. 118

SHAPING UP CANADA Slimband > p. 124

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Movies for Grown-ups Piers Handling, CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival, takes us inside a sleek and sophisticated cinema p. 96






C o m e se e w hy Advant age i s a must-read for any b u si nes s leader an d i n n ovator, no matter t he i nd u st ry. Vi s i t ad van tagem for you r f re e s u bs cri p ti on .

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What’s the Big Idea? For Mercatus Technologies Inc.’s Sylvain Perrier, it’s creating a unique company culture bent on revolutionizing the consumer experience p. 42

+ Law of the Land Learn what it takes to succeed as the legal arm of a company, from some of Canada’s top general counsel and legal experts p. 71

The Business of Big Adventure Africa On Safari shows Canadians a different kind of vacation p. 14

The Animators Toon Boom takes its elite cartoon technology from the studio to the classroom p. 14


ROCK-STAR COVERAGE Shephard Ashmore > p. 24

MOBILE MAKERS Xtreme Labs Inc. > p. 52


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Join the conversation! @AdvantageCANADA

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Sharing is



Business What happens when employees are not just workers but co-owners? by Tracey Peever


ompare the shift in mindset between renting a house and owning one. A laissez-faire tenant could let a water leak drip for weeks before tending to it, but a homeowner who sees the leak’s impact on the water bill would likely get it fixed right away. Homeowners are more likely to think of their homes as long-term investments, and they will do what needs to be done to keep that investment in smooth working order. Tenants who have no personal investment and are instead paying someone else’s mortgage are less likely to tend to the details. Now, apply this mindset to the workplace: doesn’t it make sense to have employees thinking and acting like coowners rather than like tenants? Many maintain that it does, including Profit magazine; 40 percent of companies on

the 2011 Profit 200 list, compiling the 200 fastest-growing companies in Canada, is composed of businesses with some form of employee share-ownership program. But the notion extends well beyond Canada. Globally, employeeowned enterprises are on the rise, and they’re showing their traditional-ownership competitors the dramatic shared results that their business model can lead to. For instance, when US-based Intel bought Denmarkbased, employee-owned Giga in 2000 for $1.25 billion, each of the worker-owners generously received the US dollar equivalent of $2.6 million. And, on a different side of the Atlantic, in Spain, Mondragon Corporation has managed steady operations according to just 10 co-op principles for more than 50 years. The company is an employer of roughly 100,000 worldwide, with $25 billion in advantage

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Sharing is Good Business

annual sales from sectors as diverse as finance, industry, and retail, and its driving cultural principles include voluntary participation, payment solidarity (whereby the ratio of highest paid to lowest paid is only 1:3), democratic organization (where the people who do the work decide about the work), and concern for the community. It was at least partly (if not almost wholly) these initiatives that enabled the company to keep producing, thereby increasing retail sales by 23.4 percent between 2006 and 2011, and keeping the Mondragon name largely immune from the fierce recession that crippled competitors in neighbouring Greece and France. Although there’s legitimate concern about how the economy will develop in the coming century, such examples shine as bright spots to pay attention to and possibly mirror. Employee ownership and cooperative business models seem to offer significant financial and community resilience against the 21st century’s environmental and fiscal uncertainties. So how is Canada fostering similar practices? And what might we learn from other countries that have passed legislation in support of cooperatively run businesses?

“When you talk to employees, you are talking with the shareholders. There is a sense that you have to be transparent and open first.” —Wade Wilson, Senior Director of Communications, PCL Constructors

PCL’s recent expansion of its North American headquarters, located in Edmonton, includes space for more than 200 employees, a state-of-the-art data centre, a fitness facility, and employee training rooms. An employee-owned company for 35 years, PCL is frequently listed as one of the best places to work in Canada.



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This trend is not completely new to Canada. The nation already has a healthy, robust collection of co-ops—businesses run by volunteer members who all benefit from the shared products and services. It also has an active, supportive Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA), which stood in full support when the UN declared 2012 the “International Year of the Cooperative,” a sign that cooperative business models are gaining further traction and attention. Employee-owned businesses, however, are a rarer breed of enterprise, whereby a percentage of the company’s workers are also shareholders. Such business are commonly referred to as ESOPs—an acronym for Employee Share Ownership Plan—and their advocates, though outnumbered, are loud in their praise. “Employee-owned companies with participative management outperform conventional companies with regard to productivity, sales growth, and employment growth,” said Sherman Kreiner, then the president and CEO of Crocus Investment Fund, at a 2001 meeting of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance. “Employee ownership is an effective mechanism for intergenerational transfer of family-owned businesses, and it also ensures that decisions affecting local businesses are made locally.” ESOPs vary in their composition and intentions. Some offer employees a small percentage of company ownership, simply intended as an additional bonus in the interests of talent acquisition and retention. Newmarket, Ontario-based Allied Global Holdings Inc. has opted for this model, offering approximately 16 percent of the company’s shares to roughly 30 percent of its workforce. This is because it also wanted to offer another incentive to employees that wasn’t based on bonus parameters. Other ESOPs offer between 75 and 100 percent of ownership to employees. Torontobased advertising agency Tamm + Kit, for example, was fully employee-owned from inception and doubled its business in its first year. The full ESOP model was chosen as the best succession and retirement option for the founding partnership team. Its members were concerned about selling the agency to a third party and the detrimental impact that could have on the workers who helped build the business. Some ESOPs actually began in response to the financial crisis, each one an attempt to save jobs at a faltering enterprise.

Photo: David West

Sharing is Good Business

Perry Phillips ESOP Builders

Wade Wilson PCL Constructors

revealed proprietary fiscal information. “I sar Steel Algoma Inc., of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, was saved by a co-ownership model wasn’t a shareholder yet because I was new, but I was exposed to a full financial disclothat, along with sharing the fiscal risks and sure of the company; our goals and figures rewards, empowered workers to self-manage were completely transparent,” he says. “I was any decision topics directly affecting their stunned they would share that in a group work, including schedules, compensation, environment, but there was a sense that the hiring, and budgeting. As a result of the people in the room, the fellow shareholdshared-ownership mindset, the company ers, were entitled to the information.” Based experienced a resurgence of morale and a in Edmonton and with more than 10,000 notable rise in output. employees, PCL has been employee-owned All ESOP roads in Canada seem to lead to Perry Phillips, president of ESOP Builders Inc. and author of Employee Share Ownership Plans: How to Design and Implement an ESOP in Canada. Tax incentives for ESOPs in Canada Perry, an accountant, a business vary by province but can amount to valuator, a consultant, and an personal income tax deductions ally to roughly 155 ESOP of as much as 20 percent for clients over the past 17 years, investments. For loans taken out to has seen firsthand how sharsupport share ownership in Canada, ing growth and responsibility the interest may also be deductible, leads to more generous pieces depending on the lender source. of the pie for everyone, but he emphasizes the importance of an ESOP mindset in successful for 35 years and is repeatedly listed as one of owners, too. An ESOP mindset requires “a Canada’s best companies to work for, largely strong ethic of altruism,” Phillips says, “with because it’s so up front. a desire to build wealth among [the owner’s] But make no mistake: an employeeemployee group and give back to those who ownership model—and the transition required helped build the business to be what it is.” An ESOP mindset also requires comfort to implement it—is not for the faint of heart. “It’s difficult for some to adopt a co-ownership with heightened business transparency. mindset, especially for managers who haven’t Wade Wilson, PCL Constructors Inc.’s had good experiences with employees,” admits senior director of communications, says he Carol Beatty, an associate professor at Queen’s was surprised when he attended his first University’s School of Business and author town hall meeting at PCL and the owners advantage

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Sharing is Good Business

“We expect a lot from people. We want them to treat this place as their own business, so they are given the freedom to figure things out and to make the decision that feels right for whoever will have to live with the outcome.” —Viive Tamm, Executive Director, Tamm + Kit

Viive Tamm Tamm + Kit of Employee Ownership: the New Source of Competitive Advantage. “It’s a leap of faith to think of employees less as hands and more as knowledge workers.” However, in unpredictable economic times requiring rapid social and technological adaptation and closer connections between organizations and their customers, there is an increasing need for knowledge and action to be shared by all members of an organization—rather than keeping knowledge concentrated at the top while actions are carried out by the workers below. Labourers, regardless of their rank in an organization, should be welcomed as active, responsible agents who can continuously seek what is ideal for the organization, not as helpless, powerless dependents who need managers above them to make decisions. With more freedom comes more responsibility, though, as well as a need to make good decisions that will align with an ownership ethos. “We expect a lot from people,” says Viive Tamm, executive director of Tamm + Kit. “We want them to treat this place as their own business, so they are given the freedom to figure things out and to make the decision that feels right for whoever will have to live with the A study by the Toronto Stock outcome.” Exchange showed a 95 percent Employee ownership can be so higher profit margin and a 123 much more than an economic percent five-year profit growth in agreement, emphasizes Beatty. She employee-owned enterprises. believes that “employee ownership is a philosophy,” and indeed, increased trust, openness, and a collective-benefit consciousness are touted by myriad management scholars as the keys to business survival and success in a brave, new, networked world. Employee ownership is a legal, structured relationship that creates the conditions for such values to

Carol Beatty Queen’s University’s School of Business



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become authentically embedded in everyday conversations, processes, and decisions rather than being forced upon the organizational culture through employee engagement programs. “When you talk to employees, you are talking with the shareholders,” Wilson says. “There is a sense that you have to be transparent and open first. If you guard information, you are guarding it from a shareholder. [Staying open] reinforces a mindset of ‘this is your company, too.’” Despite these potential benefits, though, there’s only so much support for employeeownership at the federal level in Canada. Perry Phillips grew awfully tired trying to garner political allies for the cause, and after trying fruitlessly for many years to highlight the socioeconomic benefits of ESOPs to politicians in Ottawa, he gave up, focusing on grassroots efforts instead. “Advocating … took a lot of effort, time, and money,” he says, “I stopped looking for allies once I decided to help as many ESOPs as I could to get established.” Like Phillips, Beatty is also perplexed why Canada, with one of the world’s most powerful economies and a long-standing altruistic reputation, does not yet have federal legislation and incentives for employee-owned enterprises. She finds it particularly vexing because measures are already being taken in the United States and Great Britain. “Employeeowned enterprise is so aligned with our values in Canada,” she says. “Sharing is good business,” Wilson adds, “I am interested in share return and better returns for all. PCL is my work family. I want us to excel for my own benefit but also for my friends and colleagues.” But without increased support, it might take time before many more arrive at this way of thinking. _a



through strategic relationships

Whether you are looking for top talent or a top company to work at, Blue Ocean Talent Consulting is the perfect partner to help you get it done. INDUSTRIES WE SPECIALIZE IN:

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Consumer Packaged Goods Professional Services Manufacturing & Wholesale/ Distribution Media & Entertainment

Taking the Reins from concept to career, these entrepreneurs have taken control and made their ideas and dreams a reality

Simcoe Famoso Pierlot Pension Law Front Street Pictures Ecotex ComplyWorks CAN Telematics Cesium Telecom DME Yellow House Events Architech

66 70 74 76 80 83 85 88 90 92 95


ntrepreneurs are creators. Their role is to translate a great idea into a great plan and, eventually, transform it into a great business. It takes a special kind of mentality to be able to move from concept to completion so fluidly (and successfully), but the 11 stories featured in this section are just that—special. They demonstrate that these individuals have what it takes to make their vision a reality. From pizza joints to production companies to telecommunications distributors, this section is devoted to highlighting some of the best and brightest individuals making waves in the business world today. Believe us when we say that you haven’t heard it all before.

Double entrepreneur Namita Nijjar was already president of Blue Ocean Talent Consulting when she decided to start a new venture with Simcoe.



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Taking the Reins Simcoe Founded: 2012 Industry: Health care

The Expecting Entrepreneur

Photos: Pink Pearl Images

Think you’re a good multitasker? Think again. Namita Nijjar of Simcoe Place Health Clinic survived the birth of her twins—while launching a second business. By Zach Baliva

It was the fall of 2012, and construction was nearly complete at Simcoe Place Health Clinic. Contractors, subcontractors, and vendors rushed in and out of the underground concourse at Front and Simcoe Streets, and those needing owner Namita Nijjar’s signature knew where to find her: in the corner, propped up in a chair—32 weeks pregnant with twin boys. Nijjar has an energy and a confidence about her; when you meet her, you know that she is a person who gets things done. So it isn’t surprising that, while expecting, she was overseeing the finishing touches on the construction of an integrated alternative health clinic. What made the feat truly astounding was that the clinic was actually a side project; Nijjar was already president of Blue Ocean Talent Consulting, Inc., a boutique recruitment firm specializing in staffing and management. Opening a second business and

“I knew I could either fail at everything or spend the time and the money to get the help I needed to succeed at everything.” —Namita Nijjar, President

managing it as an investment is challenging enough for any young businesswoman, but examining how Nijjar handled it alongside a complicated pregnancy and the prospect of motherhood provides some valuable lessons in multitasking and management. Simcoe spans 2,200 square feet of prime downtown Toronto office space, offering medical, chiropractic, massage, cosmetic, and other health services. “There were a lot of moving parts to the launch, and I was already leading six employees at Blue Ocean,” Nijjar recalls of the venture’s beginnings. For a businesswoman with aspirations of being a serial entrepreneur, it was a “can’t-fail” project. The idea for Simcoe came after Nijjar’s initial success at Blue Ocean. Ready to try something different, she hired a market research firm to help her discover the right path forward. Among their suggestions was someadvantage

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Taking the Reins


“Proactivity and perseverance are key. Working for someone else—for at least some time—is important because it teaches you how to be a good boss and a good leader.”

thing in the health care world. “Traditional health care often comes with bad customer service coupled with an outsourced model,” Nijjar says. “Simcoe brings a team of experts under one roof to meet several needs at one time in a caring and convenient way.” Nijjar learned she was pregnant the day she signed the Simcoe lease after lengthy negotiations, and she was in and out of the hospital over the course of construction, once staying for five days. The clinic eventually opened on November 9, and her boys—premature twins—came two weeks later. Nijjar was hospitalized at 32 and a half weeks, her water first breaking at 4 a.m. She packed her own hospital bag, and doctors tried to keep the babies from coming for as long as possible while Nijjar continued to make deals by phone, even as she received her epidural. One boy came naturally, and the other required a C-section, but four days later, the new mother was back at work. She spent the next five weeks splitting her time between Blue Ocean, Simcoe, and two hospitals 40 kilometres apart (with one of the twins in specialized care). “Definitely some of the joy was taken from the experience,” Nijjar says, “but making sure these businesses succeed is something I’m ultimately doing for my family.” Effective management of so many spinning plates might sound like a rare ability, but Nijjar sees it as a simple matter of delegation and organization. “Contrary to popular belief, I’m not Superwoman; that’s something my 68


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caring husband reminds me of,” she jokes. “So we got good help.” Nijjar hired a day nanny and a night nanny after interviewing more than 25 candidates. Then she looked to maximize every minute of every day by scheduling phone calls during her commute. She often brings the kids to work if her commitments have prevented playtime. “I knew I could either fail at everything or spend the time and the money to get the help I needed to succeed at everything,” Nijjar says. Nijjar also found ways to connect her business dealings to her personal ones in order to have a better grasp of each. For instance, many of Simcoe’s reflexology, acupuncture, and massage practitioners are professionals whose services Nijjar actually discovered during her pregnancy. She credits their work with helping her get back to the office just days after a trying delivery. As Nijjar’s boys and her new business now approach their first birthdays, they do so healthily. “Sometimes a successful entrepreneur really does have to be in four places at the same time,” she says. “Some relationships wouldn’t have survived the stress, but my husband is my biggest supporter as well as my biggest critic, pushing me to be the best at everything I do.” In addition to her boys, it’s Nijjar’s culture that drives her. The 33-year-old entrepreneur came to Canada from India more than 16 years ago. “I’ve lived in two countries for the same amount of time,” she says. “I appreciate the experiences gained in both countries,

Through the Years 2008 Weds Amar Nijjar, an executive in the institutional debt-financing industry 2010 Leaves her role as associate vice president of national recruitment for Sears to start her own business, Blue Ocean Talent Consulting 2010 Blue Ocean opens in July, targeting clients in retail, real estate, technology, and other fields 2012 Nijjar’s second business, Simcoe Place Health Clinic, and her twin boys are born just two weeks apart 2013 Blue Ocean doubles its revenues from the previous year, and Simcoe surpasses forecast expectations and starts to make a profit after just four months

and leverage everything that Canada has offered me to the fullest.” Coming from humble beginnings and raised by a widowed mother, Nijjar hopes to continue inspiring her friends and family while grabbing all the opportunities found in her new country. _a


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From left: Jason Allard, COO; Justin Lussier, CEO; and Christian Bullock, VP of real estate and franchising.



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Taking the Reins Famoso Founded: 2007 Industry: Casual dining

Bella Napoli

Photo: DW Dorken

With a focus on Italian authenticity, Famoso is leading the revolution as Neapolitan pizza comes to Canada By Zach Baliva

Sometimes a great business idea is scribbled on the back of a cocktail napkin, sometimes it’s born out of an established think tank, and sometimes it gets relayed from a pay phone in Europe. Famoso cofounder Justin Lussier was vacationing in Naples when he fell in love with the Campania region’s ultra-thin-crust pizza. He phoned Christian Bullock, shared a vision for a Neapolitan pizzeria in Edmonton, and devoted the rest of his vacation to sampling the best fire-roasted pies in all of Italy. Lussier returned to Canada armed with a new passion for Neapolitan pizza—a combination of hand-tossed dough, Italian wheat flour, and the freshest ingredients all cooked in a 900-degree oven. That was 2007. Today, just six years after being the first to import Neapolitan pizza to Alberta, Famoso is an established franchise with 17 locations across the country, and its careful work to cultivate

“We want [customers] to view [Famoso] as a regular hangout because a gathering place is in the true spirit of Neapolitan pizza.” —Justin Lussier, CEO & Cofounder

an old-world atmosphere in North America is drawing big numbers. It took Lussier, Bullock, and partner Jason Allard 18 months to turn their dream into a reality. The trio started by contacting Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana (AVPN), an exclusive organization established by the Italian government that trains and certifies makers and suppliers of authentic Neapolitan pizza who must adhere to strict principles. AVPN-certified restaurants must use specific fresh ingredients in a fire oven that cooks the pizza in just 90 seconds. Famoso’s founders did an intensive training program at the AVPN and became one of the first in Canada to open a Neapolitan pizzeria. These steps, along with careful brand building, helped Famoso emerge as a leader in the growing marketplace. Canadians, accustomed to more traditional offerings from advantage

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Taking the Reins

To ensure authenticity, Famoso adheres to Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana standards, which include using a special fire oven to cook the pizza.

The Road Ahead

Famoso is looking forward to calculated growth as it continues to build its brand across Canada and into the United States. Its next steps include: Establishing brand recognition in British Columbia and Ontario Improving an already solid guest experience to differentiate Famoso from competitors Continuing to value employees and keep them long-term Building a loyal fan base through great pizza, comfortable restaurants, and a friendly staff



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tion. All franchisees are required to make the pilgrimage to Naples and absorb local cuisine, customs, and culture. They meet suppliers, tour the flour factory, visit buffalo mozzarella farms, and stroll through vineyards. “We want people who understand the product and are as passionate about it as we are,” Bullock says. Famoso offers traditional fare such as pizza Margherita and Capricciosa as well as “new world” pizzas—updated twists on the celebrated standards. The brand’s model is meant to wow its guests with an affordable, comfortable meal in a friendly environment and convince them to return often. Famoso’s service style is a hybrid method in which guests find their own table, order at the counter, and enjoy table service with the option of paying at the counter or starting a tab. “People feel the freedom to come here multiple times a week for a quick lunch or a long Italian-style feast,” Lussier says. “We Boston Pizza and Pizza 73, responded well. want them to view it as a regular hangout People kept coming, and the Famoso team because a gathering place is in the true spirit continued its expansion and opened 15 locaof Neapolitan pizza.” tions in five years. In 2012, Famoso stretched When it comes to domestic and internaoutside of Alberta to Toronto, Vancouver, and tional expansion, the partners are focused on Victoria. quality over quantity. “We’ll be successful if Bullock says the founders’ unorthodox we find great partners and build good stores leadership style has brought success at the at the right rate,” Bullock says, predicting that franchise level. “We get five applications Famoso will approach 30 locations by the end a week for franchise partners, but we only of the year and another 20 by the end of 2014. consider a few people each month,” he says. “We are selective, we train them very well, and Those numbers will include opening new locations in Québec and Saskatchewan while then we support them long-term with a large Lussier, Bullock, and Allard develop a strategy and qualified team.” Although Famoso has to enter the US market. 17 locations, the company is staffed for 40 Famoso is growing because its team stores. “There is so much heavy lifting for a new brand in new markets that we want to go has found the perfect blend of Neapolitan and cosmopolitan. Famoso is now known as above and beyond,” Lussier says, adding that an inviting pizzeria with good energy and a establishing the right reputation for excellent comfortable atmosphere. It’s brick and wood products and unmatched customer service is with colourful fixtures and lively music. It’s a paramount. place to go to find not just a piece of pizza but Most of all, the partners are looking to a piece of Italian hospitality. _a build authenticity into every Famoso

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Levelling the Playing Field Pierlot Pension Law’s James Pierlot is pushing for change in Canada’s pension policies, and people are starting to listen By Frederick Jerant

James Pierlot’s reform advocacy has earned him the John Hanson Memorial Prize and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Pensions. For many, they’re as exciting as last year’s news, but James Pierlot knows better, and he’s quick to demonstrate their importance to anyone who will listen. “In Canada’s economic ocean, pensions are like icebergs: the biggest part is under the surface,” he says. “Because so much money is at play—about $2 trillion invested in private plans alone—pensions have a major impact on the economy as a source of investment capital, retiree income, and tax revenue.” With more than a decade and a half of experience in the sector, Pierlot is now out on his own as the principal of Pierlot Pension Law in Toronto. He’s constantly looking for ways to improve larger pension models, and he has emerged as a champion of national reform. Pierlot’s career in pensions began in the Registered Plans Division of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), where he was tasked with reviewing pension documents to ensure their compliance with federal tax rules. After six years, he started law school and then moved to the private sector in 2000, serving as counsel with Bell Canada Enterprises and as a policy advisor

“In Canada’s economic ocean, pensions are like icebergs: the biggest part is under the surface.” —James Pierlot, Principal 74


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Taking the Reins Pierlot Pension Law Founded: 2011 Industry: Legal consulting


“Good people and services can be found everywhere. Ask your colleagues and friends for advice and recommendations; you can often find the best solutions that way.” The basis for Pierlot’s second paper, Legal with Magna International Inc. until 2003, when for Life: Why Canadians Need a Lifetime Rehe joined Watson Wyatt Worldwide. tirement Saving Limit, was a unique financial After joining Towers Perrin HR Services model that incorporated rules governing in 2005, Pierlot’s duties shifted toward direct retirement saving from 1974 to 2012. The client work, balanced by a leadership role in model showed that federal public-sector developing intellectual capital for the firm and promoting reform by preparing submissions to workers were retiring with pensions worth as much as $2 million. To provide equal pensionfederal and provincial governments. “I became saving room for everyone, the paper proposed increasingly interested in the problem of unequal access to pension-saving opportunities that $2 million be established as a universal and the predicament of Canada’s private-sector cap on retirement savings for all workers and that all other contribution and benefit workers,” he says. “The current reality is that limits be eliminated. The paper won the John career public-sector workers look forward to Hanson Memorial Prize from the Actuarial receiving pension incomes three to four times more than private-sector workers.” Pierlot now Foundation, in Chicago, in 2012. As his business grows, Pierlot continues sees the Canadian retirement-saving system— his quest. In late 2012, he published Pooled largely unchanged in almost 100 years—as Registered Pension Plans: Pension Savior, or a structured to perpetuate this imbalance. New Tax on the Poor?, which proposed changes “Some reform advocates want to fix the inequality by reducing public-sector pensions,” to a new federal government retirement-saving vehicle to make it work more effectively for Pierlot says. “But that would be a race to the low- and middle-income workers. bottom. A better approach is to make it pos Although he enjoys being a sole sible for everyone to join the kinds of pension prac­­­titioner, Pierlot is looking forward to plans that have operated so effectively in the public sector. Everyone needs a secure, predict- controlled growth so that he can once again work with a team. “I like to collaborate on able income when they can no longer work.” projects, as I was able to do with talented In 2008, Pierlot released his first major individuals at large firms,” he says. “With the paper, A Pension in Every Pot: Better Pensions for More Canadians. It showed the large differ- right mix of expertise, you can come up with some great ideas and serve your clients very ence in retirement-saving outcomes between effectively.” _a defined-benefit pension plans and other tax-deferred retirement plans and called for major reforms. Then, when his past employers merged in 2010 to form Towers Watson & Co., “it seemed like a good time to launch an A message from canadian western trust independent firm,” he says. Canadian Western Trust (CWT) offers a full array of In 2011, he set up his current practice, institutional trustee and custodial services for penwhere he has continued to promote pension sions, trusts, endowments, and foundations, using reform. “As an independent firm,” Pierlot a sophisticated, real-time web-based multicurrency says, “my focus is to provide responsive and asset management and custody system. CWT is personalized client service while continuing pleased to collaborate with Pierlot Pension Law to promote well-reasoned, evidence-based to provide service you can trust to plan sponsors, reforms to Canada’s retirement system.” administrators, and investment managers.

Through the Years 1999–2005 Pierlot acquires an LLB in common law, an LLB in French civil law, and an LLM in taxation law. 2000 Publishes peer-reviewed paper promoting tax-policy reform to reduce federal government debt 2008 Publishes peer-reviewed paper demonstrating inequalities between publicand private-sector retirement saving 2008-2009 Print and electronic media coverage of first paper launches him as a thought leader on retirement-saving policy 2011 Establishes Pierlot Pension Law as a sole practitioner 2012 Wins the John Hanson Memorial Prize and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his papers and reform advocacy 2013 Publishes peer-reviewed paper proposing reforms to pooled registered pension plans, new pension-saving vehicles introduced by the federal government 2013 Serves as vice chair of the Ontario Bar Association’s Pension & Benefits Executive Committee


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Taking the Reins Front Street Pictures Founded: 2003 Industry: Film production

The Plot Thickens How Front Street Pictures founder Harvey Kahn went from journalist to Disney PR man to film producer by finding good stories By Lindsay Howald Patton

Harvey Kahn first fell in love with film while attending the University of Wisconsin, setting the stage for his future career.



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The phone rang, and when Harvey Kahn picked up, he heard his friend, a National Public Radio reporter, on the other end saying, “I’m going to play you an interview.” This was in the 1980s. At the time, Kahn was working for Disney in Los Angeles, heading up public relations for the nascent cable television station that would become the Disney Channel. Although he wasn’t a journalist anymore—he had spent time in Washington, DC, writing and working on issues-driven political campaigns—he still had one ear on the news, and he had become fascinated by reports of zealous survivalist groups encamped in America’s farm belt, convinced of an elaborate federal conspiracy. So it was on Kahn’s advice that his friend had gone to dig up a story. “Listen to this,” the reporter said on the phone, and he hit play. The voice recorded on the interview belonged to a farmhand named Lester, who described the last day he had seen his wife and children before they dramatically disappeared. Turns out they were living with one of the groups. And the kicker? They were going to be rescued in a police raid the following day. “So my friend said, ‘You ought to get on a plane,’” Kahn says with a laugh. “I took a day off work and flew out there, obviously on my own nickel, and I watched this whole event unfold.” Kahn had never developed a film before. He fell in love with the magic of the medium while attending the University of Wisconsin, where the work of Fellini, Godard, Gavros, and Malle was shown by campus film societies. But actually making one? That seemed impossible. But the story of the farmhand was

Harvey, You’ve been a star at Cast & Crew for a long time. As a sign of your years of support and friendship, we’d like to show our appreciation.

Thanks for a great partnership.

EntErtainmEnt Payroll • Production accounting SoftwarE • ProcurEmEnt & PurchaSing • rESidual PaymEntS labor rElationS • Production incEntivES • workErS’ comPEnSation inSurancE • 24/7 cliEnt SErvicE & SuPPort

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Taking the Reins

too perfect to pass up, so Kahn went back to LA after interviewing Lester and the other characters involved, came up with a treatment, and at first “wasn’t sure what to do with it, exactly,” he says. In a stroke of luck, however, executives at CBS contacted his friend at NPR. They sold the story to CBS on the spot. And that, as they say, is how it all began. The movie didn’t end up being made (at least not immediately; it was picked up a decade later and released on TV as Divided By Hate), but it was still a transitional moment for Kahn. From that moment on, he was in the filmmaking business. Today, Kahn is the president of Front Street Pictures, which he founded in 2003. His road to Vancouver from Los Angeles was paved with locational benefits because, since the early 1990s, the British Columbia metropolis—and, really, Canada as a whole—has become a destination for all types of filmmaking. Part of Vancouver’s appeal is the increasingly skilled crews available there, particularly in the realm of visual effects (The X-Files, X-Men, and Stargate were all filmed there). There is also the variety of locations you can approximate, thanks to the nearby coast, mountains, farmland, and small towns. Finally, filming in Canada makes financial sense: the federal Canadian government, individual provinces, and cities all provide strong tax incentives for projects on their soil that use local labour, with extra breaks for films that qualify as Canadian content. Although Kahn was born and raised in the United States, his mother was from Nova Scotia, which lent him an easy path to citizenship after he started crossing the border to produce films in the late 1990s. “I saw an opportunity to take the sensibilities I had cultivated during my years in Los Angeles”—sensibilities that lean toward provocative or touching real-life stories—“and create a company that would utilize those sensibilities while also taking advantage of all the things Vancouver has to offer,” Kahn says. There are now two essential parts to Front Street Pictures’ business. On the one hand, it provides production services to stu78


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“I saw an opportunity to … create a company that would utilize [my] sensibilities while also taking advantage of all the things Vancouver has to offer.” —Harvey Kahn, President

dios, producers, and film and TV distributors, mainly LA-based, who have a project in mind, want to shoot in Vancouver, and need work space, experienced crews, and someone with an easy familiarity with the area’s financial regulations. On the other hand, the company seeks out ideas to cultivate and produce from the earliest stages on its own. “I started this company because I knew some of the difficulties and appreciated the challenges people go through to get their movies made,” Kahn says. “I’m not just some guy sitting in the office, ramming projects through a production mill.” That’s not what show business is about, after all; whether it’s a documentary, a kid’s show, or a drama, Front Street Pictures is still concerned with creating that magic Kahn first experienced in film societies at the University of Wisconsin. “We try to sustain that the best we can,” he says. _a

A message from cast & crew entertainment services

Since 1999, Cast & Crew has had the wonderful opportunity of working with Harvey Kahn. We couldn’t ask for a better partner, and we’re thankful that we continue to be his go-to payroll company. Through his string of achievements, Harvey has become an industry leader. We’re very proud to call him our friend, and we look forward to many more successful years together.

Front Street Through the Years We Don’t Live Here Anymore (2004) Filmed in Vancouver but set in a New England college town, this John Curran– directed film was the competition selection at the Sundance Film Festival and stars a quartet of familiar faces: Mark Ruffalo, Naomi Watts, Laura Dern, and Peter Krause. The Deal (2005) The slogan of this political thriller, which features Christian Slater and Selma Blair, goes, “The world is at war. To the victor goes the oil.” Harvey Kahn directed. Nobody’s Baby (2001) A mutton-chop-sporting Gary Oldman stars alongside Skeet Ulrich in this comedy about two criminals and a baby. R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour (2010– Present) This cable TV series, based on the young-adult supernatural fiction of R.L. Stine, sends chills up kids’ spines during each half-hour episode. It’s currently at more than 100 suspenseful episodes and counting. Abducted: The Carlina White Story (2012) This made-for-TV Lifetime original tells the story of a baby kidnapped at birth who then grows up and discovers her true identity.

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Taking the Reins Ecotex Founded: 1974 Industry: Health-care linen

WorldClass Act Randy Bartsch went from pro skier to pro launderer, turning Ecotex into a premier linen-management company for health-care providers ByJulie Knudson

Photos: Laura Leyshon

Randy Bartsch took over the family business after a successful career as a professional skier.

Long ago, Randy Bartsch toured the world for six years as a freestyle skier on the World Cup circuit, schussing down slopes on multiple continents to the cheers of onlookers. To wonder how exactly he got from there to his current position as president and CEO of Ecotex Healthcare Linen Service Group, his family’s linen-management and laundry-service company specializing in health-care clients, is a fair question. However, Bartsch, who spent several years in the sports promotion arena, has a simple answer. “I wanted to stay in the neighbourhood and hopefully marry my high school sweetheart,” he explains with a laugh. “The best way to accomplish this was to join the family business.” Beginning with this modest wish, Bartsch immersed himself in the commercial laundry industry, and his initiatives have since helped build Ecotex into a multinational company serving more than 100 hospitals in British Columbia and the Western United States. The drive began in the early 1980s, when Bartsch had the foresight to recognize



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“I’m always looking for an idea that can help change the way we do business for the better.” —Randy Bartsch, President & CEO

Taking the Reins

Taking the Reins


“It’s all about persistence and commitment. Once you have made a decision to move in a particular direction, putting in the time and staying engaged is critical.”

Through the Years that rampant consolidation was coming to the looking for an idea that can help change the industrial-uniform sector of the laundry busi- way we do business for the better,” he says. ness, which was the initial focus of his family’s Two programs Bartsch has integrated into company. He saw promise in another field in- Ecotex’s operations are Lean Manufacturing stead. “One of the things I began to appreciate and Six Sigma. He has combined them into was that the health-care space was emerging,” an effort called Lean Six Sigma, which has helped Ecotex reach productivity levels in the he says. “Textiles in a hospital environment top tier of the industry. are fundamentally important because they’re Attended YPO events and listening to critical for practitioners and clinicians to be world-class speakers has inspired Bartsch to able to treat patients.” think differently. “I’ve pushed the boundar Bartsch seized on the market shift and ies of the way I look at things,” he says. He expanded the company’s offerings beyond compares conventional perspectives to a uniforms, gradually reaching out to hospitals Rubik’s Cube, explaining that “if you turn it, in British Columbia and selling them on sometimes you can start to see things a little Ecotex’s track record of exceptional customer more clearly.” His efforts to innovate made service. “Our mission has always been to crehim a finalist for the 2012 Ernst & Young ate raving fans who will tell others about our Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the company,” he says. Ecotex now offers clients tested solutions Pacific Region. Now, with the recent birth of his first for controlling costs, including better manage- ment of linen use through specialized software grandchild, Bartsch says his perspective continues to evolve as his role in the family busicalled Ecotex Linen Manager and an on-site ness shifts. “I’m in an enviable spot,” he says. linen-management system called Logistex. “We’ve seen great results where hospitals have “I took the business from my father, changed its direction, and I’m now at a crossroads been able to save money on linen service where that baton is being passed, once again, and redirect those savings towards improved to the next generation.” He now spends time clinical care,” Bartsch says. “We feel that, as a not only making decisions and directing the company, we make a difference.” company as CEO but also working to impart Bartsch credits the Young Presidents’ as much knowledge as he can to his children. Organization (YPO), which he has been “I’m teaching my sons why I do what I do and a part of for nearly 20 years, as a source of inspiration in his work. The group has helped why we make the decisions we do,” he says. “Hopefully they can gain some perspective and him meet other successful leaders and learn their secrets for making their companies more have a building block for decisions that they will need to make down the road.” _a effective, efficient, and profitable. “I’m always

1976 Joins the family business, Act One Uniform Rentals, on a part-time basis 1977 Qualifies for the World Freestyle Skiing Championships in Heavenly Valley, CA 1978 Qualifies to represent Canada on the FIS World Cup freestyle ski circuit 1979 Launches the Pepsi Ski Show, a sports exhibition venture 1982 Begins transforming Act One into Ecotex 1989 Is elected to the board of the Textile Rental Services Association of America 1990 Joins the Young Presidents’ Organization 2008 Is elected to the Board of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association 2010 Is appointed to the University of the Fraser Valley Board of Governors 2012 Comes in as a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Pacific Region advantage

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ComplyWorks is a global leader in providing Compliance Management Solutions. We help customers streamline Contractor and Supplier management and supply chain processes in a variety of industries. From Pre-qualification to payment, and everything in between; our solution automates the collection and monitoring of relevant data, and is readily accessible to decision makers as actionable intelligence. The results are stronger working relationships between Employer and Suppliers, effective risk mitigation and measurable performance improvements in finance, quality, safety, security, environment and other areas.

Taking the Reins ComplyWorks Founded: 2004 Industry: Managament consulting

Playing it by Ear “Dynamic entrepreneurs [are] more capable of developing and delivering customer-centric solutions simply because they … listen more and respond faster.” —Cal Fairbanks, President & Cofounder

The world of contractor and supplier compliance management is fraught with concerns over everything from legal liability to worker safety to insurance regulations, and many would likely find the complexities crippling. However, since Calgary-based ComplyWorks was established in 2004, cofounder and president Cal Fairbanks has guided the firm through the field with consistent and measured growth—far beyond the Canadian border. And, along the way, he has cultivated client loyalty through a unique blend of entrepreneurial thinking and a commitment to the sort of productive affiliations that outsourcing customers expect from their business partners. As ComplyWorks approaches its 10th anniversary, the firm has matured into a global leader at delivering compliance-management solutions that help customers streamline contractor and supplier management and efficient supply-chain processes. The company now has offices in Toronto, Houston, and Pretoria, South Africa, and though it partners with a variety of businesses, it’s known for its work in the real estate, mining, forestry, telecommunication, construction, and petroleum industries. Fairbanks is proud that ComplyWorks’ culture fosters innovation by encouraging new ideas. “Any well-thought-out idea is usually a good one,” he says. “And anyone, on any level, can have one, internally or [as] a client. For several years, we’ve had a formula to develop good, embryonic ideas using a defined process: Project Works. Every Monday, our executive committee reviews all ideas in Project Works. Those worth considering are given a timeline and team-follow-up methodology, which investigates and recommends all ideas that are advantage

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Photo: Tracy Elliott

Listening closely to customer needs has helped ComplyWorks’ Cal Fairbanks solve problems in compliance management By Gary N. Bowen

Taking the Reins


“I have yet to see a successful entrepreneur who did not completely believe in his or her idea, trusted their instincts and their people, and set a high energy level by working very hard. That’s the stuff that dreams are made of. And entrepreneurs are dreamers.”

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deemed viable. Many of our current solutions were born from someone’s “what-if ” idea. And that’s a strength of our company.” Like many other entrepreneurs, Fairbanks’s motivation to establish his own company early in his professional career dawned on him when he worked for a firm with a more traditional and, to him, less dynamic management structure. “In the late ’80s, I was working for a very large computing company that was a vendor of electronic data interchange [EDI] services,” he says. “We developed the first generation of online EDI, and this was groundbreaking stuff.” However, “the organization didn’t really encourage dynamic problem solving,” he says. “I was never unhappy, but I knew I could be happier and more productive. I discovered that the traditional linear corporate environment was stifling my enthusiasm for the job itself. There was too much bureaucracy over which I had virtually no control.” So, Fairbanks identified an opportunity to solve an industry problem. He and his partners figured out a way to streamline compliance-management administration in order to ultimately offer a full boutique of outsourced compliance-services partnerships—in lieu of the more traditional vendor-based relationships. “Customers seemed fascinated by the promise of this kind of service delivery, but at the time, we were dealing with ‘low-hanging fruit’ and not listening to what the customer actually needed,” Fairbanks says. “And it occurred to me that in the world of technologyrelated services, dynamic entrepreneurs were more capable of developing and delivering customer-centric solutions simply because

they had to listen more and respond faster. From there, it didn’t take long for Fairbanks to decide where his future lay. “I surveyed my customers about their opinion of a more responsive relevant compliancemanagement service and, after fielding many enthusiastic responses, saw the opportunity and found others to partner with those who shared my vision and desire,” he says. “The rest is history.” ComplyWorks has since experienced steady growth, largely because of the consistent market advantages of outsourcing in general (cost savings, greater process efficiencies, mitigated buyer risk) and the heightened administrative responsibilities that all businesses must meet because of greater workercompliance legislation over the past 15 years. “Customers see the advantage of focusing all of their internal resources on their core business and outsourcing noncore tasks to providers that specialize in administering them,” Fairbanks says. “Compliance management can be quite tedious and a serious drain on a company’s resources.” ComplyWorks ensures that its outsourcing customers have little cause for concern. _a

A message from mackay

For nearly 10 years, ComplyWorks has provided compliance-management solutions to help customers streamline contractor and supplier management and supply-chain processes. All of us at MacKay want to thank you for selecting us as your accounting firm of choice. We look forward to many more years of service.

Taking the Reins CAN Telematics Founded: 2006 Industry: Software and tech

The Watchmen How one risk-taking entrepreneur launched CAN Telematics, a global asset-tracking powerhouse By Zach Baliva

Eight years ago, Brent Moore sold his bar. Two years later, he found himself on a flight to Mozambique. Today, he’s part of a company whose competitors trade on the NYSE with market caps nearing $850 million. To say it’s been a wild ride for the CEO of the Alberta’s CAN Telematics would be a serious understatement. It all began in 2006. Moore had a small pile of cash and no plan, but after three years of running a bar named MaddHatter’s, it was time for something different. Moore, a born entrepreneur who grew up trapping and selling beavers and squirrels to fund his video game habit, decided to turn to wirelining in the oil and gas industry. He traded in the bar to buy 20 rig mats and began renting them on the side. Things went well, but Moore had problems keeping track of his rented equipment. That’s when the lightbulb went on. “I had this ‘aha’ moment,” he recalls. “I thought someone could make a killing using technology to track rented equipment.” Moore then realized another application for the fledgling idea—freight handling. The entrepreneur had spent countless frustrating hours trying to backhaul trucks—a process through which a

“It was slow and painful to find a trucker going the right direction with the right amount of space. I knew there had to be a better way.” —Brent Moore, CEO

customer saves money by hiring a half-empty truck already travelling to a desired location. “It was slow and painful to find a trucker going the right direction with the right amount of space,” Moore says. “I knew there had to be a better way.” And thus CAN Telematics Inc. was born. Moore started talking with Duncan Ford, his

current CTO, and the duo built an early website Moore describes as “eHarmony for trucks and loads.” Then Moore moved to integrate trucking companies that already had GPS solutions. Those companies, however, only used the technology for defensive purposes such as reducing wear and tear. Moore wanted to turn GPS into an offensive tool for asset tracking and marketing. Moore had a simple strategy: to partner with companies already providing asset tracking services. One group in Florida took particular interest in the idea, which lead to an early acquisition offer. Moore moved his team’s upstart to Florida to immediately support sales and development efforts, and his first sales call came from a Calgary-based company that had an immediate need for asset tracking in Africa. Having never used or sold the technology, Moore had to learn quickly. “We flew there without ever having used our technology,” he recalls. “We were literally reading the manual on the flight.” Following this first successful sale, Moore and his partners were hooked. Moore decided to delegate sales and raise capital, advantage

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Taking the Reins

bringing in $800,000 from friends and family in the first six months. Unfortunately, though, the financial crisis and skeletons in the closet brought the promising venture to its knees. Despite this unforeseen hiccup, Moore held on to the Africa account and began working with his partners to build a proprietary asset-tracking system called Trakopolis. Once nervous investors were appeased, business began growing. CAN Telematics started attracting new customers, including one mysterious client who needed to track sensitive cargo along the Canadian railway system. Moore even landed a deal to monitor the secure delivery of the Olympic torches. Today, he tracks 10,000 assets for 250 customers in 13 countries around the world. Looking back, Moore says both his

willingness to take risks and the loyalty of a who trade at eight times the gross revenue. strong core team have led to success at CAN “We have a recurring revenue, global business Telematics. “We put all our eggs in one basket model that offers a dramatic return for our and that fell through, so we had to start on investors, and there is a tsunami of business plan B and C and D and E,” he says. When coming our way,” he says, adding that his another deal for a company with 400 locapeers are doing “amazing things” with inferior tions fell through due to Moore’s small staff products. size, he quadrupled the team to 25 workers In some ways, what Moore is trying to and sought out big customers with internado is simple. “You don’t need an MBA to tional reach. By then, he had raised another figure out how to make money,” he says. “You $800,000. “When you have the life savings of need to deliver a good product and colseveral people on the line, you learn to think lect your receivables.” His aim is to perfect creatively and experiment quickly,” he says. an internationally distributed product and Such risks are bigger than most compaconstantly evolve the technology to stay ahead nies would have been willing to take, and the of the pack. “I have always been chronically grand vision is just now paying off. Moore optimistic, and I have always believed that if says his lean company, with $5 million on the we build it they will come,” Moore says. So far, books, is competing with huge corporations he has been right. _a


“You have to be an optimist and a realist at the same time. My dad told me that I had an obligation to spend the shareholders’ money instead of sitting on a huge bank account. If you raised it, you need it, so get going.”

Through the Years 2005 Moore sells his bar and purchases 20 rig mats for use in the oil industry 2006 Frustrated with the effort required to locate his rental equipment, Moore starts to investigate GPS asset tracking and freight matching 2007 Moore invests his first $100,000 with more start-up capital from Duncan Ford and close family members 2007–2008 A major merger deal falls apart in the wake of the financial crisis; Moore pulls all of the money from the bank, lives with $300,000 under his mattress, and promises to rebuild from scratch 2009 Lands client Layne Christensen, an account to track several hundred units; the client requires financing, and Moore agrees to finance the billion-dollar company with just $25,000 in the bank

Photo: Deserae Evenson

2011 Comes in second on a major account because of company’s size, so Moore quadruples operations 2012 Moore closes two monster deals with the biggest drilling company in Western Canada and a well company in Australia 86


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Taking the Reins

The Yes-Men Cesium Telecom’s cofounders don’t take “no” for an answer, nor do they expect clients to By Michelle Markelz

Cesium cofounders Sanjay Bakshani (left) and Vicken Kanadjian.



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Taking the Reins Cesium Telecom Founded: 2002 Industry: Mobile and wireless


“Always keep trying, and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. For example, TELUS was the only carrier in Canada we hadn’t worked with. We heard ‘no’ so many times, but we were persistent. It took us over five years, but we finally signed a contract with them.” —Vicken Kanadjian, Cofounder

won two $5,000 loans from an entrepreneurWhen you’re a small wireless distributor and ship program at the Business Development Canada’s largest wireless carrier tells you it Bank of Canada. needs 30,000 chargers and several thousand The first few months, the pair started cases for the launch of a device that will set out in a friend’s father’s office, buying small the new standard for smartphones, you can’t refuse the business—even if you have less than batches of Sony Ericsson phones—one of the first wireless devices with a colour 30 days to deliver. This was the challenge Sanjay Bakshani screen—and selling them on eBay and to local retailers. Quickly realizing they’d entered a and Vicken Kanadjian faced just weeks rapidly growing and evolving industry, the before the iPhone’s Canadian launch in duo pursued their first carrier contract and, 2008. Only in its sixth year of operation at in 2006, signed an accessory-distribution the time, their company, Cesium Telecom, agreement with Rogers. “We’re a very young Inc., had a chance to prove itself if the and aggressive company,” Bakshani says, “but products reached store shelves in time for we always say we’re lucky to be in an industry the iPhone’s launch. that’s growing.” However, the night before Rogers Com Seven years after that first Rogers munications would host its press conference to launch the Apple device, the accessories ar- contract, Cesium has grown to 50 employees, rived not at the flagship store but on Cesium’s another milestone for the company, and the co-owners are sticking to those small-business doorstep. So the company worked through practices that earned them their reputation. A the night processing orders and shipped out year after they were nominated for the Ernst products via same-day courier to ensure the & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, accessories arrived in time for the press conBakshani and Kanadjian implemented what ference. they call the Cesium core values—honesty As executives and media browsed the and respect; entrepreneurial spirit; a passion inventory the next day, there was no trace of for delivering a great experience; and think the legwork it took Cesium to deliver—save big, think positive—which were developed for the absence of the products promised with the input of their team. by the original distributing partner, whose Their collaborative effort is another insize and rigidity delayed their shipment by a dication of the company’s humble roots and a week. quality that Bakshani says makes running the “It was a real milestone for us,” Bakshani business interesting and rewarding. “I’m still says. “No matter how big we get, we always continuously learning and involved,” he says. want to maintain that level of service.” “If I worked somewhere else, I’d be a master of Cesium was born when Bakshani and Kanadjian, two university students with com- one area. Here, I interact with almost everyone and learn from everyone.” _a puter science and engineering backgrounds,

Through the Years 2002 Bakshani and Kanadjian cofound Cesium Telecom 2004 Cesium signs its first big vendor contract with Sony Ericsson 2005 The company adds Nokia to its portfolio 2006 Rogers becomes the start-up’s first carrier client 2008 Cesium signs a contract with Bell, Canada’s largest communications provider 2009 The company makes Profit magazine’s list of the fastest-growing companies in Canada for the first time (and lands on it again in 2011 and 2012) 2010 Cesium moves to a new 20,000-squarefoot facility in central Montréal 2012 The company’s staff expands to 50 employees, and for the second year in a row, Bakshani and Kanadjian are finalists for the Ernst &Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award advantage

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Taking the Reins

Built from Struggle DME’s Peter Toombs went from building Prince Edward Island’s first brewery to the unemployment line, but his entrepreneurial drive brought him back By Julie Schaeffer

of great ideas,” he says, “and thought, ‘I could Peter Toombs, founder and president of a metal fabrication company owned by Billy make a go of this thing.’” Diversified Metal Engineering Ltd. (DME), Ricks, another noted entrepreneur. The fates tested his spirits yet again, traces his entrepreneurial roots back to the age Soon after, Ricks decided to get into the though, when he tried to buy the company’s of 10, when he began selling household goods brewing business, building tanks from the assets at auction and was outbid, letting down to his sister. metal produced in his own shop, and it was himself as well as CMP’s former employees. “I’d find all this stuff in the attic, then put a the first pivotal moment in Toombs’s career. “It was quite a crash,” says Toombs, price tag on it and set up shop,” Toombs recalls, “I was only there for a month,” Toombs says, but he admits that the business came crumbling “and he walked into my office with a top-secret who soon after found himself with no job prospects, no income, and nowhere to go down when he found a chemistry set and started file and said, ‘You can’t tell anybody, but we’re but the back of the line at the Employment making perfumes. “My parents were concerned going to build a brewery on Prince Edward Insurance office. “I got in that line for the first about corrosion and explosions.” Island.” For Toombs, it was a personal and While his parents were certainly patient, professional coup. “My eyes just lit up,” he says. time in my life,” he says, “and I looked at the situation … and said, ‘I can’t do this.’ I had to it’s not surprising that they encouraged such “I had no idea what the size and challenge of economic experimentation. Toombs’s father, the task was going to be, but I was in my early find a way to get myself self-employed.” The Hillard, was himself an entrepreneur who got 20s, living on an island without draft beer, and answer came from Toombs’s accountant, who suggested he start doing field work, fabricathis start with only a ninth-grade education, I thought, ‘Holy cow, I’m going to build a ing and welding with mobile machines. working as a window washer for a pharmacy brewery?’ Those were exciting times.” Toombs thus launched DME from in a small town; three years later, he owned After Ricks and Toombs sobered from his apartment in 1991, and for the first time the business. the high, they continued opening breweries, everything fell into place. The company quickly Although watching that happen in front but it was a tough business to get into for a of his eyes inspired Toombs, he says that, for company that had previously fabricated metal got some contracts and found a shop, and today, with 50 employees, it designs and builds the most part, “entrepreneurialism is hardfor food manufacturers. CMP went under in wired; you either have the drive or you don’t.” 1990, and that’s when Toombs’s entrepreneur- equipment for a variety of applications—from And for him, that drive came in the field of ial wheels began spinning. “I saw an opportu- brewing to biotechnology—and it’s expanding engineering, where he charted a course that nity to grab a hold of a business that had a lot into China and India. eventually led to the creation of his own firm. However, the route wasn’t without its ups and downs—many of them extreme. WORDS OF WISDOM Toombs’s journey began at the University of New Brunswick, one of the top “Perseverence is key to being a successful engineering schools in Canada, where he chose to study mechanical engineering entrepreneur—because you will fail, and because it offered a high potential income. He struggled at first—“I had no idea what you will fail on multiple occasions.” I was doing,” he says, “and all but flunked out the first year”—but he recovered, and immediately after graduation he landed a job with Charlottetown Metal Products (CMP), 90


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Taking the Reins Diversified Metal Engineering Founded: 1991 Industry: Design-build/engineering

Getting there took everything, but Toombs seems to have made peace with the hardships. “You have to have a tolerance for risk, you have to be stubborn, and you have to understand people because they’re your key assets,” he says. “But you also have to have entrepreneurial spirit.” _a

Through the Years 1971 Begins selling his sister items recovered from his parents’ attic 1984 Graduates with a mechanical engineering degree from New Brunswick University 1986 Opens his first brewery with Charlottetown Metal Products (CMP) 1990 Fails to buy the assets of the thendefunct CMP 1991 Launches DME in his apartment 1992 Sees $600,000 in sales in his first year in business 1997 Wins the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Atlantic provinces

Incorporated in 1991, DME (Diversified Metal Engineering Ltd.) is known across the globe for custom designed and fabricated equipment for the Brewing, Industrial, BioEnergy BioTechnology and Decor industries.

DME’s vast capabilities, experience, and dedication to quality have allowed the company to grow into a diverse international business with over 600 equipment projects and installations around the world.

To learn about DME International, visit


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Saying No to the Cubicle Grail Noble bucked traditional corporate culture when starting Yellow House Events, now one of the nation’s fastest-growing events agencies By Ruth E. Dávila

Ten years ago, as first-time homeowner Grail Noble stood in her new abode just weeks before the birth of her first child, she felt a deep yearning for career independence. “It was a real ‘aha’ moment,” she says. “I was painting the walls of our first home and looking at the colour I picked and knowing that I owned it. I said, ‘The feeling I have of driving my own vision and my boat forward is what I need in my professional life.’” With that, Noble closed the door on her former life as an employee and formed her own company, Toronto-based events powerhouse Yellow House Events, of which she is the CEO. Previously she had worked all angles of promotions, sponsorship, and events for notables such as YTV, Molson Coors Brewing Company, and the NBA (“We helped launched basketball as a sport in Canada,” she says), but she left behind job security and an enviable maternity leave to ignite one of the fastest-growing companies in Canada through solid networking and innovative organizational practices. Noble registered Grailco—which became Yellow House after a rebrand—out of her bedroom. In the early days, she rocked her baby in a carrier with her foot while typing at her desk. Noble decided to grow the business slowly at first to spend time with her family, but remarkably she had clients to attend to from the start. She attributes her acquisitions to a few things: a thick Rolodex, strong relationships with former employers and colleagues, and, more often than not, random chance. For instance, Noble bagged her first “elephant,” BlackBerry, eight years ago, a few months after helping a client’s wife jump-start her job search over tea. Noble followed up to

Grail Noble (seated) and the Yellow House team have abandoned the notions of a traditional office.



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Taking the Reins Yellow House Events Founded: 2004 Industry: Event planning

see where the woman had landed, and it turned out she had been hired by then-little-known Research in Motion (now BlackBerry). The woman introduced Noble to the BlackBerry events team, and to date, Yellow House has conducted hundreds of BlackBerry events, and the brand is still Noble’s largest client. “There are always sales strategies that work, but in our business it’s very much based on relationships and likability,” Noble says. “We don’t sell widgets, but people and ideas. People buy from people they like, provided all things are relatively equal.” Noble’s people-centric philosophy starts internally: her Distillery District offices boast comfortable couches, great music that employees can select, wine in the fridge, and a latte bar—posh digs for the 16-person outfit. “It’s a really cool culture where people are valued,” Noble says. “We like each other and have a good laugh every day.” Noble scoffs at traditional vertical business hierarchies. “Taking a bunch of people, putting them all in cubicles under fluorescent lights, and then making them compete against each other for limited promotions or positions doesn’t create a team environment,” she says. “Companies do this and then find themselves spending lots of money on corporate team building to offset the cutthroat or political

environment they have created. ” At Yellow House, employees work collaboratively. In brainstorms, a finance manager is as likely to participate as a marketing guru, fostering “knowledge spillover.” Frequently, client projects are assigned to staffers based on their skills; the office foodie, for example, would likely get a job with culinary connections. And account teams consist of junior and senior managers so that the up-and-coming professionals can show leadership without clients detecting any learning curves. The latest ritual at Yellow House is the morning huddle. Workers gather around a whiteboard, coffee in hand, no laptops allowed, and announce their top three objectives for the day. It keeps the team on the same page, helps everyone gauge and distribute workloads, and adds a sense of accountability. Whether it’s the progressive atmosphere or its client relationships, something is working for Yellow House. The agency has recorded 2,395 percent growth over the past five years. Perhaps it’s due to Noble’s empowerment ethos, the same one that initially drove her to go solo and that today defines her management style. “If you give people something they can own and are responsible and accountable for,” she says, “it’s amazing how they will rock it.” _a


“Keep your head up and go to where the puck is heading, not where it is. I have seen many businesses fail right after they have been busiest. It is very easy to forget to sell when you are busy, and then you wake up one day to find the sales cycle is longer than your line of credit.”

Through the Years 1991–2001 Graduates from Western University and builds her career working for Congress Canada, YTV, the NBA, and Molson Coors Brewing Company 2001 Buys first house, leaves corporate world, becomes pregnant with first child, and starts Grailco 2002 Works from home and lands her first client, the Heart & Stroke Foundation 2004 Rebrands her company as Yellow House Events and buys a yellow house, too; lands new major clients such as REVLON and Sun Life 2006 Snags the big client, BlackBerry 2007 Hires her first intern, who then becomes the first employee and is now director of operations; moves Yellow House into its first office space, in the Parcel Building; revenue growth and a need for more staff and space sparks an office move to the Distillery District 2007–2012 Survives recession and wins some awards while adding five new staff members, a graphic design department, and an Orlando office 2012–2013 Adds a director of marketing and business development, and doubles the size of the office 2013 Enjoys busiest, most profitable year, billing more in its first quarter than in the entire previous year; her husband, Paul, takes a sabbatical from his career to support Yellow House as VP of special projects advantage

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Taking the Reins Architech Founded: 2004 Industry: Software and tech

The Climber David Suydam of Architech discusses how advances in his company’s lean and agile methods have yielded unprecedented success By Tina Vasquez

David Suydam got his feet wet in software development consulting while attending the University of Toronto.

David Suydam’s foray into the world of software development began with his family’s first computer in the 1980s, and as a high schooler, he was a fledgling hacker spending his free time in the student computer lab. By the time he could purchase his own computer, he was more than proficient in programming, and the skill eventually led him to create his own startup: Architech Solutions Consulting Services, Inc. Today, Suydam’s nine-year-old company specializes in building custom software for companies interested in maximizing their technology investment, and it was recently ranked 112 among Canada’s 200 fastest-growing companies, experiencing 412 percent growth in the past five years. Below, Architech’s president and founder speaks with Advantage about striking out on his own and the success he has had with his agile software development methods. Advantage: When did you begin kicking around the idea of starting Architech?

David Suydam: I began consulting when I was a student at the University of Toronto. I spent five weeks in London doing database work before I even had my final exams. I like to say that consulting’s in my blood. My first job was working for Clearnet [acquired by TELUS], helping with their integration, but early on I started thinking of consulting on my own. In the software development field, you have a better chance of having an impact if you work with a strong team, so it made sense to form a company. When Architech was first starting out, what were some of its biggest challenges?

We had one major client during our first three years of business. Having a single client is risky,


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Taking the Reins

“In the software development field, you have a better chance of having an impact if you work with a strong team.” —David Suydam, President & Founder

Through the Years

so I decided to branch out and land additional clients. It was a critical early decision that really helped us diversify and find our identity. Another challenge we encountered was that clients wanted to meet at our office, but we didn’t have an office; we did everything virtually. I like to say that we became a “real” company after five years, with a real office and a staff and payroll— the whole deal. Starting a business can be a real roller coaster. For a while, I wished that I’d done an MBA, but now I’m glad I didn’t. What are some of the most common reasons your clients seek you out?

Our clients seek us out because of our reputation for creating great custom web, mobile, and cloud applications. They know they can’t become world-class with a software product their competitors can buy off the shelf, so they go custom. We take a customer-first approach and apply agile, lean thinking to build great software.

How do you account for the massive amount of growth Architech has experienced in the past five years?

We chose “agile” as our software development methodology, and agile is causing massive changes in the software world. The old waterfall method doesn’t work anymore, and in the midst of competitive pressures, there’s the expectation to build software quickly and to test it quickly. The traditional way of building software doesn’t work that way: the US government, the Toronto Airport, Intuit,—the list of those adopting the new model is getting longer, and we’re on the right side of history with this. Our growth 96


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comes from our ability to embrace agile methods, build great custom applications that are cost-effective, and help our clients get better at what they do. Your company website says Architech specializes in “Creating Software Joy.” What does that mean exactly?

It goes hand-in-hand with why we’ve been so successful; it’s about creating a great end product. It’s software that adds value, looks great, functions perfectly, and increases productivity. I feel strongly that this can be best accomplished with agile methods. I’ll use the analogy of building a house: In the end, you’ll find that the house is lovely, but the process was atrocious. You were over budget, building was delayed, the contractor was doing dumb things, etc. The same can often be said of the software-building process. So much software development doesn’t use common sense, especially when old methods are in use. “Creating Software Joy” is about having the opposite experience.

What do you like most about what you do?

Many of our staff members will tell you that they learned more in a couple of months at Architech than they did in a year working somewhere else. It’s great watching people grow and getting to know what people are passionate about and what drives them. On a regular basis, I have lunch with three different staff members. It’s amazing what can come out of this free time where we can talk about anything. That’s what I enjoy most: being surrounded by smart, inspiring, supportive people. _a

1998 Earns BS degree in computer science from the University of Toronto 1998–2004 Consults and performs software development for various companies 2004 Founds Architech out of his business partner’s living room 2008 Establishes Architech’s first commercial office space, with 13 staff members 2012 Places 112th on the Profit 200 ranking of Canada’s fastest-growing companies; lands in SPI Research’s list of the Top 10 “Best of the Best” Professional Services firms in North America; gets listed as the fourth-fastest-growing tech firm in Canada 2013 Occupies two floors of a historic building in Downtown Toronto, with approximately 85 staff members and growing

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cause & effect

CAUSE: To protect insurance client data

EFFECT: Millions of customers safe from hacks and identity theft

Pacific Blue Cross keeps its member data under lock and key See how David Crumpton works with employees daily to improve security By Lynn Russo Whylly


oday is the age of big data, and no industry is more inundated with it than insurance. From monthly statements, to complete medical histories, to customer service records, to credit card numbers, insurers collect tens of millions of bytes of consumer information to maintain a competitive edge. The data allows the companies to conduct deep analyses of customer behaviour and helps uncover new service opportunities, eliminate unprofitable ones, and target the right services to the right customers at the right time. However, the information’s incredible value also puts it at risk of being hacked, stolen, or even accidentally misplaced, so protecting it all is a full-time job. At nonprofit insurance provider Pacific Blue Cross (PBC), that job belongs to David Crumpton, whose educational and collaborative initiatives are constantly improving the organization’s security PBC is the largest provider of health and dental benefits in British Columbia, serving 1.5 million members through 8,000 employer plans, and Crumpton is its in-house corporate counsel, director of compliance, and chief privacy officer. As the steward of privacy and one of the people responsible for ensuring the safety of all PBC’s data, Crumpton has a hand in anything and everything that might generate member information. Take, for instance,, a wellness website launched last year—by Pacific Blue Cross and other Blue Cross



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David Crumpton is as enthusiastic about learning as he is about doing his job well. He has four degrees—a BS in science, an MBA, a JD, and an MA—and four certifications—certified privacy specialist, certified internal auditor, fraud examiner, and group benefits associate. He has served as an officer in the Canadian military, is a long-distance runner, does yoga and weight training regularly, and continues to take classes to improve his skills.

By The Numbers

# 1 PBC is the big-

gest provider of health and dental benefits to the private sector in British Columbia

200 Amount of terabytes of data PBC has on file

1.5 m Number of members PBC serves


The year David Crumpton joined CU&C Health Services Society (PBC’s predecessor)

$220 k

Amount PBC gave back to the British Columbia community in 2012

Canada organizations—where people can find information on everything from eating healthy to exercising and managing the stress in their lives. “I was heavily involved in understanding the types of information this site would be collecting and what would be done with it,” Crumpton says. People today are more concerned than ever about how their personal data is being handled, and Crumpton must ensure their trust isn’t breached. He provides privacy training to new employees as part of their orientation to PBC and to new customer service representatives in the company’s call centre. “We work hard here to raise awareness about data protection and privacy among our 700 employees and consultants,” he says. “I make sure people get the training they need and understand the importance of handling personal information, whether it’s for customers or employees.” On the rare occasion when a mistake does happen, he instructs the service staff to make every correction possible and to take the opportunity to learn from the experience and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Crumpton also works diligently with the information security team to come up with ideas for improving processes. “I try to share insights that may have come to my attention from feedback from our members,

holders, and our employees about potential problems, and they share things with me on changes that are happening to our firewalls and other internal security changes we’re undergoing,” he says. “We’re constantly trying to update our system and adopt data best practices in the industry. We have to. It’s a moving target.” One notable practice PBC adopted came as a result of the nonprofit’s desire to be transparent with the handling of personal information. “There is no legal requirement under BC’s Personal Information Protection Act to notify persons of a privacy breach,” Crumpton says. Nonetheless, he adds, “We decided it was important to provide notification in those rare cases when we make a mistake. Our approach of breach notification has been well received by our members and stakeholders.” Going forward, as the amount of data PBC collects and the number of ways the organization uses it both continue to grow, Crumpton is committed to finding new and better methods for protecting member privacy and reduce data risk. “We’re currently exploring the possibility of creating a privacy [and] information-security steering group to provide advice and to help control and manage the personal and confidential information we collect,” Crumpton says. He and his team can only rest knowing the data’s as safe as it can be. _a advantage

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cause & effect

Cause: To manage the retirement funds of Alberta’s 75,000 current and former teachers

Effect: The exploration and diversification of investment opportunities in response to an influx of contributions

The Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund is growing—and diversifying its investments in kind The 74-year-old organization is now exploring the potential of private investments By Benjamin van Loon


lthough teachers are one of enlightened society’s greatest assets (and greatest cultural forces), they need their own set of generous assets to do the job right. That’s where the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF) comes in. As an independent corporation, the ATRF was originally established in 1939 under the Teachers’ Pension Plans Act, and now, with 75,000 members, the fund currently manages more than $8 billion in assets. Overseeing these funds doesn’t happen on its own, though; its carefully conducted by Derek Brodersen, whose sound policies are helping the ATRF find new investment opportunities in the private sector for the continued betterment of its members. “What we’re really here to do is secure the pensions for the teachers of Alberta—that’s our role,” says Derek Brodersen, the chief investment officer for the ATRF. “Everything we do on the investment side needs to support that. It’s not about making headlines or bragging about a good investment; it’s about the strong fiduciary responsibility we have to our stakeholders.” In addition to his role at ATRF, Brodersen is a member of the CFA Society and the Pension Investment Association of Canada, and he has held his position since 2008, after originally joining the fund as an equity portfolio manager in 1997. Before that, he was working for an investment-management subsidiary of a Regina, Saskatchewan-based insurance company, but he was drawn to the ATRF for its challenges and—as he later found—its intellectual reward. “I wouldn’t have imagined 20 years ago that I’d be at any job for 16 years,” he says. When Brodersen joined the fund, he was one of eight staff in his department, and even when he transitioned to the CIO role, the organization was still operating fairly 100


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Overseen by Derek Brodersen and the ATRF board, the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund has made impressive strides beyond its original vision of providing the province’s teachers with sound financial security well into the future. Brodersen, who serves as chief investment officer, originally came on board in 1997 as an equity portfolio manager. Today his investment department has a staff 24 employees.

“What we’re really here to do is secure the pensions for the teachers of Alberta—that’s our role.” —Derek Brodersen, Chief Investment Officer

conservatively. However, the funding structure of the pension plan at ATRF changed in 2009 and began collecting more money in contributions than it was paying out to its pensioners. “This growth has been significant for two reasons,” Brodersen says. “First, the fact that our assets are growing and that we know they’re growing gave us the scale to do things we weren’t able to do before. And secondly, because we have cash coming in, we don’t need to worry about liquidity. We can make investments now that we might not be able to touch for 10 years, and that’s okay.” Previous to ATRF’s growth, it primarily put its money into publicly traded investments, but now it has a significant portion of its portfolio in privately traded investments such as real estate, private equity, and infrastructure. “What we’ve done in the past three years is build internal teams to manage those portfolios of assets on an ongoing basis,” Brodersen says. “These asset classes are much more labour intensive than public-market assets, so we’ve needed to add a lot of people.” The investment department now staffs about 24 employees, and its work has led to growth in other ATRF departments. The bulk of the fund’s dramatic changes came roughly a year after Brodersen reached the CIO position, and though some of them had been forecast earlier, it was only after Brodersen took the helm that they began to crystallize. “The changes have been great, and though it has been a huge challenge developing the business plan and educating our board and investment committee about the requirements of investing in these asset classes, everyone has been working very hard and having a good time doing it,” Brodersen says.

After such an involved period of active growth, Brodersen adds, it’s now time for the ATRF to mature its newly established departments and roles. For the first time in three years, the fund is no longer in an active hiring mode, so it is critical to strengthen its internal cohesion and to pursue new and increasingly diverse investment opportunities. It’s good for the ATRF, but, more importantly, it’s good for the teachers. “That’s the reason we’re here—to support the teachers,” Brodersen says. “What we’re doing is finding the right balance to enable us to pay the teachers’ pensions over the long run but not taking too much risk in the process. Managing investments is as much about managing risk as it is about managing return.” _a

By The Numbers

Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd. is an employee owned firm formed in 1982, with an expertise in value investing. We manage investments for both institutional and private clients. We are proud to have managed funds for the Alberta Teachers Retirement Fund for over 15 years and congratulate Derek on continued success going forward.


Year the ATRF was established

$8 b

Total assets managed by the ATRF


Percentage the ATRF’s investment team has grown by in the past three years


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cause & effect

Cause: Putting funds directly in the hands of the community organizations working on the front lines to combat the AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa

Effect: Hoards of initiatives funded, hundreds of communities helped, and a surplus of hope given

The Stephen Lewis Foundation is turning the tide on the HIV/AIDS pandemic See how the organization’s efforts across the globe are fighting the good fight By Tina Vasquez



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Photo: Davida Nemeroff


lana Landsberg-Lewis, the executive director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation and the daughter of Stephen Lewis—the former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations and deputy executive director of UNICEF—remembers her father’s mood on a family vacation shortly after he was appointed the UN’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. “Something in him had shifted,” Landsberg-Lewis says. “My dad has devoted his whole life to social justice issues, but I’ll never forget it; he acted like a person haunted. He couldn’t shake off what he’d seen. The agony, despair, and sorrow he’d seen in country after country, village after village, left him deeply mournful and shaken.” Her father, she explains, “wanted to do more to ease the pain of the people affected by or infected with HIV/ AIDS at the community level. The idea for a foundation had been ruminating for months when we agreed to meet in New York.” At that time, Landsberg-Lewis, a former labour- and human-rights lawyer, had just returned to Toronto after giving up her job at the United Nations Development Fund for Women, commonly known as UNIFEM, where she had been the agency’s advisor on the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Then, in 2003, around Landsberg-Lewis’s kitchen table, the Stephen Lewis Foundation was born, with both Lewis and Landsberg-Lewis on board. “It seemed very important to my dad that I do this with him,” she says. While at first resistant to putting his own name on the foundation, Lewis was finally convinced that his reputation would be an asset when raising funds for the grassroots organizations with which the foundation would partner. And so Landsberg-Lewis moved to Toronto to be the executive director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. The foundation was created with the express purpose of

In 2003, the Stephen Lewis Foundation was founded by Stephen Lewis and his daughter, executive director Ilana Landsberg-Lewis, who says she learned of social-justice issues and feminism “in utero.” Since its inception, the foundation has funded more than 700 initiatives and partnered with 300 community-based organizations in more than 15 countries, all in a tremendous effort to help battle the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Additionally, the foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign has raised more than $17 million since its inception, in 2006.

We are

By The Numbers


$63 m

Initiatives supported

Funds committed for program spending

200,000 Annual number of orphans who received funding for school supplies, uniforms, and fees; nutrition programs; medical care; and critical psychosocial support

$17 m Funds raised for grandmothers in Africa who are raising orphaned grandchildren

committed to exceeding your expectations by delivering the highest level of service, quality and

putting much-needed funds directly into the hands of the community-based organizations working on the front lines to combat the AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Originally, it hoped to raise a few thousand dollars for those grassroots organizations in greatest need; but 10 years later, the foundation has funded more than 700 initiatives and partnered with 300 community-based organizations in the 15 sub-Saharan countries that were hit the hardest by the pandemic. “Our fundamental and guiding principle is that the communities best understand the dimensions of the pandemic and what is needed,” Landsberg-Lewis says. “Those who are most affected understand their own community’s needs in ways that we cannot, so we take our cue from what the projects tell us they need. We don’t presume to know better.” The Stephen Lewis Foundation primarily focuses on five areas: children affected or orphaned by HIV/AIDS, the grandmothers raising them, associations of people living with HIV and AIDS, home-based health care, and the intersection of sexual violence and HIV/AIDS. From the start, the foundation was determined to partner with organizations utilizing gender analysis and addressing gender inequality, which Landsberg-Lewis says is something that is too often neglected, despite the fact that girls and women are hardest hit by the HIV/ AIDS pandemic. Globally, young women aged 15–24 have HIV infection rates twice as high as young men and account for 31 percent of new infections in sub-Saharan Africa.

The biggest obstacle, however, that the Stephen Lewis Foundation encounters—as does every organization doing similar work— is a lack of resources. The most maddening thing about this is that Landsberg-Lewis knows that if there were adequate funding, it would be possible to turn the tide of HIV/ AIDS on the continent. Oftentimes, especially with the large funders, not a lot of the money gets to the places that need it the most. And with the global economic downturn and major funders pulling back—or out altogether—the need to support the work at the community level is even more urgent. “We will continue to find even more ways to amplify the voices and realities of the real African experts on HIV and AIDS—the people wrestling every day at the front lines of the pandemic,” says Landsberg-Lewis. “We’re not on the ground facing the challenges of these grassroots organizations. No matter how long you do this work, how you do it should only be determined by the real experts in the field—those who are on the ground. And all of the progress made is because of these experts working with diligence and courage in their own communities every day.” _a


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How to Become an Independent Financial Consultant through Customplan Ten steps for growing a financial-advisory business

By Julie Schaeffer

Find a sponsor

Find a supervisor

Educate yourself

Anyone who works in the Canadian securities business must find a financial firm to act as his or her sponsor. This may be easier said than done. “We’re one of the only firms in the industry that will take on ‘green’ people,” says Karl Krokosinski, president and CEO of Customplan Financial Advisors Inc.

British Columbia has a twoyear supervision requirement for new advisors. “That means an experienced advisor has to take on a junior advisor for that period and be responsible for all of his or her actions,” says Krokosinski, whose firm has 10 such senior advisors. “It’s a lot more than a mentorship; it’s training someone to do the job correctly.”

Financial advisors next go through a training program to ensure that they understand the products a financial advisor sells. That training is tailored to each individual. “Someone who has been in the business world for 50 years has different knowledge than someone who’s just out of college, and they have to be trained differently,” says Krokosinski, adding that it takes about three years for an advisor to go through Customplan Financial Advisors’ entire training program.



Get licensed If you want to sell securities in Canada, you must be licensed. Each license generally requires a course of study followed by a rigorous exam. For example, individuals who want to sell life insurance must enroll in the Life License Qualification Program, and individuals who want to sell securities (such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds) must enroll in the Canadian Securities Course. A third possible license is the exempt securities license, which allows the sale of alternative financial products. Some advisors may also obtain the Chartered Financial Planner designation. Customplan Financial Advisors has classes in-house to help advisors prepare for all these exams.




advantage advantage

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“We don’t teach people to cold-call, because we don’t do it.” —Karl Krokosinski, CEO & Director of Atmosphere

Analyze your ROI When it’s time to sell, most people in the industry generally think the first step is determining a target market, but that’s incorrect, according to Krokosinski. “The first thing you need to do is determine return on investment,” he explains. “What are your responsibilities? What are the industry’s responsibilities? What will determine if you’re doing a good job? Is it sales? Is it how much people like you?”


Game Plan

Find your market Building a client base isn’t easy, Krokosinski says, but it isn’t hard, either. “A local woman who recently started with us asked me how to find clients, and I in turn asked her what she spends her time doing,” he recalls. “Are you in any clubs, like Rotary? Are you involved in any philanthropies, like United Way? If so, you know a lot of people, and you can let them know who you are and what you’re doing, maybe by sending a letter.” He also suggests advisors take the top 25 people in their life and ask them how they would build a practice. “In this woman’s case,” Krokosinski says, “24 of the 25 asked her to be their financial advisor.”


Market, market, market “We don’t teach people to cold-call, because we don’t do it,” Krokosinski says. “I also don’t like referrals because it’s no more than a name someone gave you. When you phone a referral, it’s like a warm cold call.” Instead, when someone gives Krokosinski a referral, he asks him or her to set up a meeting with all of them together. “That creates favourable face-to-face introduction,” he says.


Avoid asking for a sale When it comes to selling, Krokosinski stands firmly by one piece of advice: “Never ask someone to buy something.” Most sales organizations, he notes, will tell you to ask for a sale multiple times. “That’s what a policy peddler does, not what a financial advisor does,” Krokosinski says. “We give people choices, educate them as to what the products do, then let them ask us if we can handle it for them.”


Partner with others, if necessary Although financial advisors work independently to build their own books of business, Customplan Financial Advisors fosters a collaborative environment. “A client of a junior financial advisor came in last week wanting his portfolio restructured and his estate taken care of, so we had one person handle each,” Krokosinski says. “The client also has a big company, so we pulled in our employee benefits and pension divisions to meet with him.”


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produit : ????? ForMAt : 2,5’’ X 10,40’’


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the biz This issue: Leadership* 108

CUPE’s push for stronger pension reform


OpenText’s efficient global management


TSI’s second-to-none customer service


The Globe and Mail’s transition into the digital age


Aimia’s commitment to customer loyalty


Moneris‘s promotion of fair credit card rules


Bentall Kennedy’s multinational real estate management


The NGCOA Canada’s revitalization of golf’s image


Pure Technologies’ navigation of international regulations


Zip Signs’ philosophy on not micromanaging


n. The ability and desire to move forward while offering vital direction and guidance to others


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President Paul Moist has been a CUPE member since 1975. He earned his first job with CUPE as a representative in 1983. In 2003, he became the fifth national president in the organization’s history.



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the biz


A Collective for the Community President Paul Moist is leading CUPE in a push for greater pension benefits nationwide by julie schaeffer

Photo: Joshua Berson


n the late 1970s and early 1980s, more than local and exotic flora was growing in the Winnipeg greenhouse where Paul Moist worked as attendant. While there, he further cultivated his passion for the power of the collective, and he eventually went on to become president of one of Canada’s largest unions, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). “I believe strongly in the community spirit embodied in unions—the notion of working together to help one another at work,” says Moist, who recently has been uniting his organization’s members around the cause of Canadian pension reform. Their efforts have begun to effect the sort of societal change CUPE strives for—and that it hopes to take in still more directions in the future. Moist grew up in a union family, the son of a firefighter-turned-fire-chief. “There was a sense of fairness to my upbringing,” he says, “and I accepted instinctively from an early age the notion that collectively we could improve wages and working conditions far better than we could achieve [it] as individuals.” Moist got his CUPE card in 1975, while working as a lifeguard, and he continued to carry it through college when he worked in the Winnipeg greenhouse. In 1983, he was offered employment as a CUPE representative, and 10 years later he was elected president of CUPE Local


“I accepted instinctively from an early age the notion that collectively we could improve wages and working conditions far better than we could achieve [it] as individuals.” —Paul Moist


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the biz

500, representing Winnipeg’s municipal workers. In November 2003, he became the fifth national president of the CUPE, which today boasts 625,000 members. Under Moist’s leadership, CUPE— whose membership includes municipal workers, education workers below the level of teacher, and health care–support workers below the level of doctor and nurse—has focused on branding itself as a community union and has played a key role in the expansion of pension plans. While many CUPE members are covered by a workplace pension plan, those who work for smaller entities—such as nursing homes and day-care centres—are often left out in the cold. To meet the needs of that demographic, CUPE formed two pension plans of its own: the Multi-Sector Pension Plan, which represents workers in small social-service agencies, and the Nursing Homes and Related Industries Pension Plan (created in cooperation with the Service Employees International Union), which represents workers in private nursing homes. Employers and employees alike make contributions, and today 150 employers participate in the two pensions, which cover 30,000 workers. The percentage of CUPE members covered by workplace pensions has thus grown from 60 to 75 percent. “I’m really proud that we’ve figured a way around the pension dilemma by creating our own pension plans,” Moist says.


625 k

25 k


Local unions

20 k



Largest local union membership

Smallest local union membership

Members covered by pensions

By the Numbers

Although much of CUPE’s effort goes into organizing and bargaining on behalf of its members, it is also committed to what Moist calls “social unionism,” which involves arguing for broad programs that make society more equal. For example, CUPE has been instrumental in the fight for the expansion of the Canada Pension Plan, a compulsory pension plan for all Canadians. It currently provides up to 25 percent income replacement, which simply isn’t enough, Moist says, given that 60 percent of Canadian workers—most of them nonunion—have no other pension plan.

CUPE has campaigned for a broadening of the Canada Pension Plan to give more coverage to workers who don’t have additional coverage. “If people don’t have enough money to retire, society will take care of them in an imperfect way, so employers and employees should pay a little more to gain a greater benefit upon retirement,” Moist says. CUPE’s campaign, now in its fourth year, has 8 of the 10 provincial governments on board, and the union is now waiting for the federal government’s agreement. CUPE has also had a hand in the push to establishment a private Medicare system in Canada, it has defended public education so that all children have access with no fees at the door, and it has resisted attempts to privatize water and electricity services across the country. It has done all this purely in the name of bettering the community—a mission inherent in CUPE’s very existence. “We advocate a social wage for all Canadians,” Moist says. “That’s part of our raison d’être.” _a A message from blue cross

Paul Moist has been instrumental in helping form two pension plans to benefit CUPE members.



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The Blue Cross offices from coast to coast wish to congratulate the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) for the significant role the organization has played over the last 50 years in improving the quality of life for employees across our country. Blue Cross offices nationwide provide coverage to a substantial number of CUPE members in a variety of business sectors, both public and private. As a collective, we value the longstanding business relationship we have developed with CUPE, and we are proud to be in a position to provide peace of mind to CUPE members across Canada.

Manulife Group Retirement Solutions

congratulates Manuel Sousa, Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources on his success and commitment to innovation. Visit

Manulife, Manulife Financial, the Manulife Financial For Your Future logo, the Block Design, the Four Cubes Design, and strong reliable trustworthy forward-thinking are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it, and by its affiliates under license. 04/2013

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HR Without Borders Manny Sousa is leveraging his multicultural experience to ensure that OpenText’s global staff is managed efficiently by julie knudson


anny Sousa’s résumé is as full as his passport is stamped. The executive has led HR functions at such varied companies as Saks Fifth Avenue, T-Mobile, PepsiCo, and RBC Royal Bank, and each position has moved him somewhere new, including Canada, both coasts of the United States, and Hong Kong. “Over the course of my career, I’ve been fortunate to have worked with leading companies in a variety of industries,” he says. He has carried this experience into his current role as senior vice president of global human resources for enterprise information management (EIM) software market leader OpenText, and his worldliness is proving to be a boon as he works to support the fastgrowing company’s roughly 5,600 employees in more than 40 countries. It’s a significant undertaking, so Sousa works to populate his department with people as well rounded


“We need people on the HR team who are globally oriented, culturally sensitive and diverse, extremely bright, and who have a strong self-awareness.” —Manny Sousa Manny Sousa’s expertise as an HR professional has taken him across the world, as far as Hong Kong.



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as himself—while pushing a more proactive, creative approach to meet the shifting demands of HR. Recruiting, retaining, and managing top talent from afar means that communication and decision-making can be a challenge. Workers are in different time zones, speak different languages and have different laws and cultures, so the scenarios that Sousa’s team must be suitably prepared for are myriad. “We need people on the HR team who are globally oriented, culturally sensitive and diverse, extremely bright, and who have a strong self-awareness,” Sousa says. “I have a great team that is effective in managing these complexities collaboratively.” This collaboration is paramount as Sousa’s team works to move the company “in the same direction at the same time.” Many aspects of HR are reactive—it’s often difficult to anticipate when a key employee will depart or when a crisis will arise—but Sousa has focused on locating potential problems before they grow worse. “Our job is to try to minimize those issues and not be caught off guard,” he says, adding that when emergencies do strike, he works with his team to recover in a way that properly addresses the issue, maintains leadership’s credibility, and builds trust. “It’s important for us to anticipate issues and opportunities that we may be faced with and to be prepared to execute solutions in a proactive way.” The regulations surrounding the management of human capital don’t hinder Sousa’s drive for innovation, and he doesn’t see anything about HR that restricts creativity. For him, experimentation is the seesaw that balances a firm’s need for structure with its need for speed and agility. “It’s important for us to be creative problem solvers and to find new and unique ways to motivate and engage employees as they strive for greater performance,” he says. Sousa has seen the HR landscape change significantly over the past decade. “Some of it has been evolutionary, and some has been revolutionary,” he says. The business world continues to recover from the financial crisis, there are more companies out in the marketplace today, and the environment is generally much more competitive. To succeed, Sousa says, leaders must place a stronger focus on the customer as well

DOs & DON’Ts Managing HR Effectively on a Global Scale

DO • Listen. With different languages and cultural nuances, it’s critically important for leaders operating on a global basis to be effective listeners. • Be flexible. Be ready to modify policies and practices to accommodate cultural differences yet still achieve the results you’re looking for within the company’s stated objectives and values. • Focus on building relationships. There’s nothing like talking to people face to face; you can’t always establish trust over the phone or through e-mail. DON’T • Move too fast. Speed is important, but everybody operates on a different timetable. Ensure that others are on board before proceeding. • Limit yourself to one leadership style. Preferences differ from country to country, and you can’t assume one leadership style works everywhere.

as on employees. “Corporate leaders need to become deliberate about defining their customer experience and then translating that back through their human-resourcemanagement strategies to get employees to deliver on that customer experience,” he says. Sousa likes the fact that his team is able to influence success across the company. “HR people are supposed to be thought leaders in terms of how you maximize the productivity and the ingenuity of your human capital,” he says, refuting the idea that HR people are just administrators stuck in their own silo. “The thing that’s common among marketleading companies is that they tend to have strong HR functions. HR gets well integrated into the business, and the leadership is thinking about their human resources—their talent—all the time.” _a

A message from manulife

Group Retirement Solutions. For close to 60 years, Manulife has offered group retirement clients creative and innovative solutions that deliver best-ofclass service, capture the attention of plan members, and demonstrate the value of the plan offered. A group retirement program is a valuable component of any employee benefits program. It helps employers attract and retain quality employees by providing a convenient, cost-effective option for building longterm savings. Manulife tailors flexible, affordable plan designs to meet the wide ranging needs of companies and their employees. Comprehensive resources, excellent service, and continuing innovation ensure Manulife clients—and their plan members—get the support they need to make the most of their retirement programs. For additional details, visit GRS at advantage

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The Co-operators Group Auto* and Home Insurance has partnered with Open Text in Canada since 2009. We would like to congratulate Manny Sousa on his feature in Advantage and wish him continued success!

We provide insurance plans to more than 400 Canadian companies which include employer sponsored groups, professional associations, and affinity groups. Whether it’s our exclusive features and benefits or group rates, you'll immediately notice The Co-operators difference. Call us today.

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Making Quality Time for Everyone By earning her customers’ trust through one-on-one engagement, TSI Group’s Pamela Ruebusch is maintaining the success of her executive search firm by jennifer nunez


ust three years after graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1987, Pamela Ruebusch, at the young age of 25, saw that there was a market to be served in the executive-search industry. And, rather than wasting too much time testing the waters, she went ahead and jumped right in, founding her own firm, TSI Group Inc., in Mississauga, Ontario, in February 1990. “It was something that happened on a whim,” says Ruebusch, president and CEO of the company, “but I never looked back. I had nothing to lose.” Such direct strategy and good execution are now what drive TSI as it consistently satisfies its clients and grows as a best-in-class executive search and talentacquisition firm. Ruebusch admits that although success has been a familiar word for TSI and its staff, it did not come without some trials and tribulations, but she also feels that “You really have such obstacles are just a part of the to be tuned in and journey. “Every six or seven years, listen to what your our company went through another customers value.” evolution,” she says, and together –Pamela Ruebusch she and her team navigated each one by uncovering and asking “who we need to be today in order to serve clients effectively.” In its latest iteration, TSI is a 10-person boutique executive-search and talent-acquisition business that partners with both Fortune 500 and thriving SME (small and medium enterprises) clientele across North America. The firm also provides HR advisory offerings, including executive coaching, leadership development, and organizational design and effectiveness


Pamela Ruebusch founded TSI just three years out of college, at the young age of 25.


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Inc. All other trade-marks areo the property 116of Venngo advantage ct / nofotheir v /respective d e cowners. 2013

How I Manage My Business Pamela Ruebusch, President & CEO

“I manage my business by being a strategic visionary and synchronizing the knowledge, resources, and capacity of my firm to deliver the best possible results.”

services for clients needing to optimize and develop the talent they already have. “The key to our success is the strategies we create and the resources we deploy in order to deliver optimal hiring outcomes,” Ruebusch says. “Our research effort on finding the best talent goes far beyond what our clients have knowledge and/or time to do. That’s why they hire us.” For Ruebusch, success is not about the huge wins; it’s a matter of taking things one customer at a time and understanding how to be of value to each of them. “You really have to be tuned in and listen to what your customers value,” she says. TSI prides itself on providing a personalized and customized approach to the services it delivers. One TSI client recently said that, of the seven firms it had worked with previously, it ultimately chose TSI because it trusted Ruebusch and her team. “That is a big success to us,” Ruebusch says. “We are able to scale and be nimble with our clients, which they value. That is always a plus with a firm our size, which we try to capitalize on.” Looking ahead, Ruebusch wants to continue moving toward a more diversified “wheel of service,” providing clients with optimal hiring, helping companies create and deliver best-in-class talent-acquisition programs, and helping executives develop their leadership and succession plans. Such efforts will help the partnering organizations earn greater ROI from their human capital. “As we do this with our clients externally, similarly I, too, strive to evolve and grow our team at TSI internally so that we can offer greater value to our clients,” Ruebusch says. The president and CEO had to be courageous when she started as a young businesswoman, but she learned along the way by wearing many hats and finding ways to adapt. Today, she knows “it’s all about working on your business—as well as in the business—and looking ahead to grow to where you need to be.” _a

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Entering the world of digital media means significant analysis of modern press rights and threats for VP, general counsel, and corporate secretary Sue Gaudi.



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Charging Toward the Digital Age Sue Gaudi helps protect The Globe and Mail as it changes course in its media offerings by benjamin van loon


n the mid-19th century, sometime after sailing across the Atlantic from Scotland, George Brown settled in Toronto and, in 1844, founded The Globe newspaper, which later merged with the The Mail and Empire to form the The Globe and Mail. Today, nearly 170 years later, after having first gone online in 1996 and after carrying out a print and digital rebrand in 2010, the paper, overseen by Globe and Mail Inc. (G&M), has a daily circulation of more than 300,000 and an online reach of more than 3.5 million unique visitors monthly. Its leadership team is still working out how to carry the publication and its component parts fully and stably into the Internet age, and for VP, general counsel, and corporate secretary Sue Gaudi, this work entails significant analysis of modern press rights and new press threats. “The backbone of my work at The Globe is the defence and advancement of the media’s right to publish and disseminate important information in the public interest,” Gaudi says. “As a VP, I work together with the rest of the executive team to chart the path for The Globe. While the way is not always clear, we take measured risks.” As an example, Gaudi cites G&M’s shift to a digital subscription model in October 2012, a gamble that banked not only on G&M’s reputation in Canadian and international media circles but also its recognition as a reliable media brand. G&M’s pay wall, which it calls “Globe Unlimited,” offers 10 free articles per month and a flat charge


“There is more news and information now available than ever before—and more ways to get it. These are incredibly exciting times.” —Sue Gaudi


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for unlimited article access after that. As of February 2013, the service had already drawn 80,000 readers, becoming a risk worth taking. “We were right and have been successful at helping to change the culture of ‘free,’ By the Numbers which was not sustainable, as the content our customers want costs money to provide,” Weekday print subscribers Gaudi says. (as of September 2011) Not only is The Globe and Mail Canada’s largest-circulated national newspaper (and second-largest daily after the Toronto Star); it’s also considered Canada’s newspaper of record. This presents distinct challenges for G&M as a private company—one that must answer to its readership and its own journalistic role in a shifting media landscape while also accommodating the demands of its shareholders. Gaudi Year The Globe Saturday print subscribers was founded (as of September 2011) helps the business arrange for new press-specific protections. “The Supreme Court of Canada keeps the power of social media and citizen journalism firmly in its sights,” Gaudi says. “For example, we asked the SCC for a new defence of journalism in the public interest, which they granted—but in the form of a public-interest defence for communications, recognizing that Year The Globe merged “Globe Unlimited” digital subscribers journalism is much more democratic now with The Mail and Empire than it has ever been.” Because such issues get so complex and have such a broad effect, Gaudi is also heavily involved in policy. As a member of the Internet Advertising Bureau’s regulatory committee, she has responded to Canadian Anti-Spam for online behavioural advertising. At the Ca- previously well-established legal principles.” legislation and to the Digital Advertising nadian Copyright Institute, she also represents Following these changes—and actually Alliance of Canada’s self-regulatory principles the Canadian Newspaper Association. understanding what, exactly, has changed—in Gaudi first came to G&M in 2006, folforms Gaudi’s efforts as she helps chart a path lowing an associate position in the technolforward for and with G&M. “There is more ogy group at Torys and an assistant general news and information now available than counsel and chief privacy officer position at ever before—and more ways to get it,” she the Torstar Corporation. Her work—past and says. “These are incredibly exciting times, and present—is fundamentally tied to the develit is our job to reorient how we look at our Co-created by Sue Gaudi, Project Green is opment and the course of the digital revolubusiness in a way that serves our customers in an internal grassroots employee initiative tion, which has proven to be G&M’s greatest a sustainable manner.” _a at The Globe and Mail that fields employee catalyst for change in its 169-year history. suggestions for improving the company’s “The digital revolution has touched every environmental stance. Initiatives include A message from deeth williams wall aspect of this business, from how news and the use of eco-friendly cleaning products, information are gathered to how we distribute Deeth Williams Wall appreciate the business and mandated sustainable-paper usage, the legal challenges Sue Gaudi and The Globe & Mail it and how consumers want to interact with administration of a TTC discount program face in the rapidly changing business of print us,” Gaudi says. “The law affecting this busifor healthier dining and enhanced and digital media. We are proud to assist Sue ness—either court-made or regulatory—has recycling, and other efforts to increase and her colleagues with cutting-edge technology changed and evolved significantly in the past sustainable consciousness in and beyond law advice in support of The Globe’s mobile and few years, largely driven by the explosion of the The Globe and Mail. online news platforms. digital technology and the effects of that on

The Globe and Mail






Making it Work



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Taking Loyalty to the Next Level Born as Air Canada’s rewards program, Aimia is now a leader in loyalty management with strong employee initiatives by lisa ryan


Photos: Michel Delisle Photography

ince its beginning as Air Canada’s popular rewards program, Aimia Inc. has broken off and soared to become one of the world’s most prominent loyalty management firms. With more than 30 offices in 20 countries, Aimia works with the world’s top brands, providing coalition loyalty, proprietary loyalty, and loyalty analytics services. And its secret to success? Well, Nicole St-Pierre, the company’s general manager of people and culture, says it’s to be found in Aimia’s employees. “Our employees and our talent matter to us,” she says. “Our goal is to build an


“What we’ve established as an organization is that we are capable of helping to build loyalty programs with top brands, which speaks to our credibility.” –Nicole St-Pierre

Nicole St-Pierre, general manager of people and culture, has been at Aimia for 10 years.

employee experience and an employer brand that is going to help us deliver on our strategic initiative to have the best people and the best culture.” The company, headquartered in Montréal, was founded in 1984 as Aeroplan, Air Canada’s frequent-flyer program, and from a small group of people within the airline’s marketing department, it grew to become a completely different entity. St-Pierre was brought on in 2003 to help manage the company’s growth as it transitioned into independence. “When I joined, we were around 150 management employees with 1,000 call-centre agents, and we only worked in Canada,” she says. “At that time, we were in a position where we had the opportunity to build the firm pretty much from scratch and construct a structure that would support and nurture a growing company with a very different corporate culture than the one it had just left.” St-Pierre helped Aimia reorganize itself before it became a public entity in 2005. “We needed to shift in order to be organized as a public company,” she says. “We needed to learn a new set of rules and put in place a proper governing structure. This is what gave us the tools necessary to grow globally.” She also credits two of Aimia’s recent acquisitions with helping the company blossom into the loyalty management giant it is today. In 2007, it purchased the Loyalty Management Group (LMG), a loyalty marketing company that owns and operates Nectar, the United Kingdom’s leading coalition loyalty program, which gave Aimia advantage

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Aimia strives to make its employees responsible and well-rounded individuals. Above, employees in Vancouver help clean up their community.

Values General manager of people and culture Nicole St-Pierre says that Aimia employees are encouraged to approach their work using a set of guiding principles that promote the values of the company’s people, its teams, and its business. The principles are gathered in a short mnemonic: PASSION.

Partnership Authenticity Simplicity Strong opinions loosely held Inclusiveness Originality Nimbleness



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roots in Europe. Soon after, in 2009, it also acquired Carlson Marketing, a Minnesotabased firm with offices across the world. As a result, St-Pierre says, Aimia is now known as the global leader in loyalty management. “We are recognized as a leader in our industry,” she says. “What we’ve established as an organization is that we are capable of helping to build loyalty programs with top brands, which speaks to our credibility.” Aimia helped to cement its place as the industry’s top firm by placing an emphasis on innovation as well as its employees. In order to help it deliver on its aggressive growth objective, the firm’s Canadian region’s executives agreed that they needed to develop leadership within the organization and decided to implement both a leadership development program and a mentorship program to help it attract and retain the best of the crop. “The kind of leadership that this global organization requires is very different from what was needed when I joined 10 years ago,” St-Pierre says. “Our goal is to be able to offer a variety of learning experiences that are aligned and [that] support our business objectives and values. We want to offer the right learning experience to the right people.” Account supervisor Julia Dunn is one of the many Aimia employees who have benefitted from participating in the mentoring program. “Having a mentor

program made me feel that, as an Aimia employee, the company was also invested in my personal development,” Dunn says. Dunn says her mentoring relationship also allowed her to learn in the context of her day-to-day reality by discussing her personal experiences with someone who understood the complexities of her work environment. “Such tailored training as this is something that is hard to achieve in a standard one-sizefits-all classroom,” she says. St-Pierre seconds Dunn’s enthusiasm for the program. “The loyalty market is becoming a bit crowded; we’re all competing for the same excellent resources,” she says. “We have the chance to have several competent, passionate young leaders who simply want to grow within the organization because they see, like I do, all of the opportunities Aimia offers.” _a A message from sun life financial

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Sales & Sensibility By promoting fair regulations, Fern Glowinsky has positioned Moneris as a leader in the debit and credit card sector by laura williams-tracy



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Even as Moneris’s top lawyer, Glowinsky says business is still her true interest. The Toronto native earned a dual JD and MBA from Osgoode Hall Law School and the Schulich School of Business. “The law degree was almost an add-on,” she says. “I knew I wanted to be in business, but I didn’t know what role as a businessperson I would have.” Glowinsky worked for a time at a Bay Street law firm, serving technology and financial-services customers and developing M&A expertise, but the position never quite fit. “I knew I didn’t want to be a partner in a law firm,” she says. “What I really enjoy is being part of a company and driving the business and being on the inside.” After leaving private practice, Glowinsky joined Versus Technologies, the public company behind E*TRADE Canada. From there, she worked with a venture-backed


“Everything that I have responsibility for I have had the joy and pleasure of building in the company.” —Fern Glowinsky

Photo: Julies Oille


etween customers wanting to buy and merchants eager to sell is Fern Glowinsky, chief legal officer and corporate secretary for Moneris Solutions Corp., Canada’s largest processor and acquirer of debit- and credit-card transactions. Glowinsky has played a key role in setting the paymentnetwork rules that impact Moneris and its customers, and her advocacy for fairness and common sense has drawn more clients to the company and put them at ease, turning Moneris into a major player in just a little more than a decade. Major payment networks such as Visa, MasterCard, and Discover have rules, not laws, that merchants and processors must follow. “I was increasingly concerned that as a company we were missing an opportunity to be more strategic with those rules and make sure we were advocating for our customers and for ourselves,” Glowinsky says. “We have an ability to influence how those rules get developed and applied and to highlight any unintended consequences.” With a nod from senior management, Glowinsky created an internal compliance function to ensure that Moneris was at the forefront when the payment networks were developing and launching rules. She lobbied for policies that would be achievable and commercially reasonable for merchants, including fewer fines and more time to comply with new and ever-evolving rules—a move that made clients happier and more likely to call upon Moneris to manage their credit and debit payments. “Compliance wasn’t seen as strategic, but now we have a world-class compliance function, and we are called upon for our expertise and insight,” Glowinsky says.

Fern Glowinsky earned a dual JD and MBA before joining the Moneris team.

the biz

Fern Glowinsky & Moneris By the Numbers


Transactions Moneris handles per year

#1 First lawyer hired by Moneris

Professional degrees in business and law

350 k 1,800 Merchant locations that Moneris works with

start-up that was building an online alumni network for colleges and universities. In 2001, she joined Moneris, just eight months after the company was established as a joint investment between RBC Royal Bank and BMO Financial Group. She was the first lawyer hired, and she now oversees a legal staff of 25, who handle legal affairs, compliance, internal auditing, government relations, and privacy. She also serves as corporate secretary and chief audit executive. The company has grown to more than 1,800 employees and today processes more than three billion transactions a year for more than 350,000 merchant locations. “When I joined, Moneris was very much an entrepreneurial start-up, even though it was owned by two large banks,” Glowinsky says. “There were customers but no infrastructure for the business, as the business was extracted from each of the banks. Everything that I have responsibility for I have had the joy and pleasure of building in the company.” Glowinsky has continued to lead on cardholder-data security, advocating for commercially reasonable and uniform standards across payment networks. Her vocal activism even earned her a seat on the inaugural advisory board of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards Council, which sets rules for cardholder-data security globally. “Merchants see us out there banging on the table and saying, ‘You need to care about


Number of Moneris employees

how this affects the merchant community,’” Glowinsky says. “We’ve turned that into a competitive advantage because we are seen as worrying about our customers above what our competition does.” _a

A message from norton rose fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is Canada’s only truly global international legal practice. With close to 700 lawyers based in Calgary, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Québec, Caracas, and Bogotá, we are one of the largest practices in Canada. Our six key industry sectors are financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining, and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and pharmaceuticals and life sciences. A message from advanceit

Advanceit is Canada’s leading merchant cash advance provider. By financing those who are typically turned down by more-traditional funding sources, thousands of entrepreneurs have been able to improve and grow their businesses. Our longstanding relationship with Moneris has helped us provide better support for business owners, while aiding the discovery of new and exciting ways to effectively fund business growth and development in Canada. At Advanceit, we believe that accessing financing should be easy, and with the continued support of Moneris, we are striving towards a better and brighter future. For more information on Advanceit, please visit

Norton Rose Fulbright would like to congratulate our valued client Moneris Solutions and Fern Glowinski on their distinguished achievements.

3800 lawyers | 54 offices | 6 continents | 1 vision


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the biz


Making Realty a Reality Richard Crofts’s legal work is helping Bentall Kennedy manage and develop property on both sides of the 49th parallel by benjamin van loon


n many ways, the story of Richard Crofts is a story of combinations. He’s the executive vice president of legal affairs and general counsel for Bentall Kennedy, one of North America’s largest real estate investment advisors and Canada’s largest property manager development firm, a company stemming from the merger of Bentall and Kennedy Associates in 2010. He has a joint MBA/JD from York University, where he graduated in 1998. In 2004 and 2005, respectively, Lexpert named him a Top 40 Under 40 Canadian Lawyer and a Top 40 Under 40 Canadian In-House Counsel. He provides legal advice and assists with strategic planning and project execution for Bentall Kennedy in both the United States and Canada. And, of leadership, he quotes the great John F. Kennedy: “Leadership “Real estate has a very and learning are indispensable to real impact in the each other.” social community. You Crofts’s background includes build a new building, articling at Davies Ward Phillips and it impacts how & Vineberg LLP, followed by people live, work, and an associate role at the New play, and I enjoy being York–based firm of Shearman at the forefront of that.” & Sterling LLP. With a desire to become more involved –Richard Crofts on the business side, Crofts shifted in-house to the Magna International Group in 2002, and the position gave him his first significant exposure to real estate acquisitions, dispo­ sitions, and developments. In 2010, he made the transition to Bentall Kennedy, and it’s there that he began to truly embrace the material aspects of his work. “Bentall Kennedy made a decision that, Richard Crofts found his true calling as a legal professional when he arrived at Bentall Kennedy. as it was growing in size and developing a




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dual Canadian and US focus, [it] needed inhouse legal counsel,” Crofts says. “While I was with the Magna International Group, working on the real estate side at MI Developments [now Granite REIT], I realized that I really enjoyed being involved in real estate transactions.” Crofts enjoyed that the largely intangible aspects of his legal work resulted in the material realization of developed and constructed real estate. His previous role with MI Developments gave him room to apply both his legal and his business knowledge, but it was his interest in both directional strategy and the tangibility of property transactions that drew him to Bentall Kennedy. “It’s exciting to me to be able to walk into a building for the first time in a development that might have taken several years to get built—and know that you played a role in helping to create that,” Crofts says. “It’s a great feeling.” Bentall Kennedy’s history stretches back to 1911, when Bentall began as a small Canadian construction company and later grew to become one of Canada’s largest real estate advisory and services organizations. Kennedy Associates started in Chicago in 1978, specializing in the same advisory services throughout the United States. As the green movement gained momentum in the early 2000s, both of the firms realized they had a mutual interest in responsible property investment (RPI) and forged an alliance in 2006. Attracted not only to the tangibility of real estate transaction but also to the social rewards of RPI work, Crofts saw a transition to newly forming Bentall Kennedy as an ideal leadership opportunity. “Real estate has a very real impact in the community,” he says. “You build a new building, and it impacts how people live,

Achievements & Accolades Bentall Kennedy formed from a merger between Bentall and Kennedy Associates, two real estate advisory and service firms seeking to unify and expand the impact of responsible property investment. Below is a brief look at their accomplishments. • The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark ranks Bentall Kennedy first in the Americas and second globally among diversified portfolios. • Bentall Kennedy received its fifth annual Energy Star Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award in 2013. • More than 70 percent of the floor area of Bentall Kennedy’s US office portfolio and 25 percent of its Canadian office portfolio (with 21 percent pending) is LEED certified by the US and Canada Green Building Councils. • More than 60 percent of Bentall Kennedy’s eligible US properties are Energy Star certified. • Two buildings in the Bentall Kennedy portfolio—Toronto’s Cloverdale Mall and Mississauga’s 326 Superior Boulevard—earned BOMA Earth Awards in 2011. • Two buildings in the Bentall Kennedy portfolio—145 King Street West and Maple Leaf 2—won national TOBY (The Office Building of the Year) Awards in 2012.

work, and play, and I enjoy being at the forefront of that.” Crofts’s work stretches into both Canada and America, so he tries to blend the best attributes of both countries’ approaches to doing business in order to extend Bentall Kennedy’s reach and impact in each market. “At Bentall Kennedy, I have a great opportunity to interface with very strong US and Canadian professionals, and getting that breadth of experience and learning from those different approaches and styles is very

important,” he says. In turn, Crofts uses this stylistic diversity to inform his role at Bentall Kennedy, particularly as it relates to the firm’s forwardlooking view and its plans for attracting new international investors. “I’m working with the other senior leaders of the firm to develop the strategic goals of a truly North American company,” he says. “I really enjoy this role, because it gives me an opportunity to expand my business horizons.” _a advantage

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Getting Golf Up to Par Jeff Calderwood and the NGCOA Canada are using efficiency and advocacy to maximize profitability and reposition the game’s image by michelle markelz


n the golf industry, some people look at the recent economic trends and see a sand trap. Jeff Calderwood, though, sees a fairway. From the greens of the nation’s courses to the steps of Parliament, Calderwood has been decisive and persistent in his pursuit to advance the game and business of golf in Canada. As CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association Canada (NGCOA Canada), Calderwood has spent the past two decades building the organization from nothing but an idea into a national advocacy group with a $4 million operating budget to provide marketing, education, purchasing, and research for “We’re just being golf course owners. Along the forced to do a better job—and we way, he has created regional chapters throughout Canada can—of telling the and expanded the association’s world what’s so staff to initiate more than great about golf.” 300 programs for 1,300 golf –Jeff Calderwood course owner members. And to keep membership costs low, Calderwood has developed more than 50 non-dues revenue streams to fund the association, allowing for maximum benefit to Canada’s course owners. “Most association CEOs would move on after a few years,” Calderwood says. “But I’ve experienced more than 20 years of the ride, from zero at the beginning to all of the success we’ve accomplished today.” The association’s greatest strength is its numbers. With more than 60 percent of Canada’s golf courses now in the organization, it can effectively lobby government or take advantage of bulk demand for food and beverages, scorecards, golf carts, equipment, CEO Jeff Calderwood has spent the past two decades building the NGCOA Canada to prominence. insurance, and pro-shop inventory, among



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the biz

NGCOA Canada’s Milestones


Launches Take A Kid To The Course, a program offering free golf to kids at 700 golf courses


The organization wins retroactive property tax refunds for golf courses, averaging $125,000 per course


Golf Business Canada Magazine wins Best Association Magazine from the Canadian Society of Association Executives, and the NGCOA Canada surpasses 1,000 members


The association launches Golf Business Canada Magazine


The NGCOA Canada is founded and launches Golfmax, an $80 million group purchasing program

Hosts the inaugural Golf Business Canada Conference & Trade Show

tax fairness. Successful lobbying won course owners a retroactive property tax refund in 2011, and now the NGCOA Canada is focused on the Income Tax Act’s unfair treatment of golf as a client-entertainment expense, a 50 percent deduction that golfers using the sport to conduct business cannot currently benefit from. There’s a perception that permeates politics that golf is a rich man’s game, making members of Parliament historically less sympathetic to the fiscal concerns of course owners. That’s one reason Calderwood is arming himself with figures such as 341,794:

“I’ve experienced more than 20 years of the ride, from zero at the beginning to all of the success we’ve accomplished today.” —Jeff Calderwood



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Becomes the largest owner of consumer golf expos in Canada


other items from the suppliers that serve the golf industry. To manage demand, Calderwood created Golfmax, a purchasing program doing more than $80 million in business—at a savings that averages 10 percent for course owners. The NGCOA Canada also delivers various research reports to the golf industry, providing course operators with management tools such as standardized benchmarks on salaries, expenses, and other categories relevant to the golf business. One of the association’s most important initiatives has been an ongoing campaign for



the number of people the sport employs in Canada. Also, $11.3 billion: golf ’s addition to the Canadian GDP. Though golf leads all Canadian sports in popularity, with a 20.5 percent participation rate among adults— that’s twice that of the United States, and the highest in the world, too—Calderwood argues that the industry needs more than healthy demand to continue its valuable contributions to the national economy. “The more we meet with Parliament, the more we hear, ‘You’re totally right. Golf should have the same 50 percent business-client entertainment deduction that other industries have,’” Calderwood says. “As a matter of fact, golf is recognized as actually being better for entertaining clients than any other.” Regardless of its success with Parlia­ ment, the Canadian golf industry will continue to face the challenges of a market that, like many others, hit a plateau in 2008 and is still searching for the return of prerecession growth. But Calderwood is more optimistic (and perhaps more opportunistic) than most. “Many people think the golf industry is destined to contract for several years because society is so busy and financial situations are tighter than they used to be,” Calderwood says. “I tend to turn that around. Although those are factors, they aren’t the ultimate drivers of the decision to play golf. We’re just being forced to do a better job—and we can—of telling the world what’s so great about golf. There’s still lots of untapped potential that requires more innovative marketing solutions.” _a

the biz


Clearing the Path CFO Karen Keebler and her financial and legal team help Pure Technologies establish overseas toeholds by frederick jerant


n 2006, when Karen Keebler joined Pure Technologies Ltd.—a leader in the development and application of technologies for inspection, monitoring, and management of physical infrastruc­ ture, headquartered in Calgary—the company was generating about $8 million in revenue annually. Today, that figure has grown to nearly $80 million, and Pure operates a dozen global subsidiaries. Such rapid expansion into far-flung international markets has created new financial and legal complications for the company, but as its CFO, Keebler (along with her staff ) works to rein in its operations and logistics across the globe. The regulations and customs for doing business in North America are fairly consistent, but across any major body of water lies a mess of differing laws, traditions, and trade agreements that can tie up even the most straightforward tasks. “Years ago, we could go in-country and do a job fairly easily because we saw it as a one-off opportunity,” Keebler says. “Today, though, we’d rather maintain a continued presence in our markets. And my group does a tremendous amount of work toward getting Pure Technologies established in those areas. We’re an integral part of the team in expanding our markets.” The primary task of Keebler and her team is developing the proper corporate structure for each of Pure’s overseas operations. “That includes everything from the legal, taxstructure, and contract-compliance points of view,” she says. “Most of our business in water and wastewater is with government agencies, and they have a lot of specific requirements.” The company’s first step is assessing an area’s potential. “We assess an area in terms of the technology we can bring to the situation, but we must also assess whether it shows the potential to meet our targets,” Keebler explains. “We like to see growth of 50–100

percent annually for about five years, with margins above 60 percent.” Securing such contracts involves more than presenting a bid. There are numerous hurdles to overcome first, including local statutes and customs. “In New Zealand, for example, a company must be a legal entity in that country before doing any work,” Keebler says. “In the Middle East, you must have a ‘trade sponsor’—such as a joint venture with a native company.” Such arrangements are handled by a representative local legal practice that’s accustomed to working with North American


“My group does a tremendous amount of work toward getting Pure Technologies established in [new markets]. We’re an integral part of the team.” –Karen Keebler

firms. “Our legal department will work with that law firm to examine possible tax and legal options based on what we want to do and how it intends to proceed,” Keebler says. Keebler adds that the overseas legal partner must acknowledge that Pure Technologies is obligated to comply with all Canadian and US anticorruption laws. It can be a sticky situation because in many developing countries bribery can be commonplace. Pure finds many opportunities in areas that have high levels of official corruption, “so we have to review all of our processes and practices to ensure everything is aboveboard,” Keebler says. “And when we hire subs, we must be sure they’re in compliance as well. At times, we could be held responsible for their misbehaviour.” Keebler and her staff also address varying tax structures and employment options. National and intercompany trade agreements, tax laws, and treaties can impact logistics and cash flow. And some countries insist on the hiring of a certain percentage of local labour, so Keebler helps determine whether it’s more beneficial to bring native workers to Canada and the US for training than to send North American employees overseas. The final step is transportation and ensuring the easy flow of equipment across borders. “We focus on going through commercial hubs when shipping,” Keebler says, “so we’ll need to consider what duties we might have to pay, and we want to be sure nothing gets tied up for months in customs.” It’s enough to make one’s head spin, but it’s all necessary for the company’s growth. “Pure Technologies wants to partner with municipalities for long-term programs rather than just performing a simple, one-off service,” Keebler says. “Even when we’re working on a relatively small project, we also look out for other problems and then lead the way in presenting possible solutions to the local government.” _a advantage

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A Feather-Light Touch Zip Signs CEO Fred Bennink trusts his staff, and delegates astutely to achieve time-tested service success by gary n. bowen


hen Zip Signs Ltd., one of the largest full-service digital-sign companies in Ontario, celebrates its 40-year anniversary this year, there’s no question that a round of applause and recognition will go to CEO Fred Bennink. He’s been at the helm for 30 years, and under his stewardship the company has grown from a handful of employees to its current roster of 80. Specifically, it’s his ability to unoppressively hone his staff ’s sense of direction and purpose that has made Bennink such a successful leader and his company such a mature, popular service provider. “There are executives who micromanage,” Bennink says, “but on the other hand, you must have faith in the company structure and your ability to hire the right people. Our employees have more skills and expertise than I do, so I establish the boundaries and then let them do their good work.” Employees who know how much they are valued as people and team members create a very strong peer-driven organization, “An important, and the CEO explains, and micro­ fun, part of my job man­agement isn’t necessary when is to recognize motivated employees clearly [employees’] good understand policies, goals, and work and single job descriptions. it out—unlike Constantly pursuing these objectives, Bennink sees himself micromanagers, who typically dwell as more of a company visionary, a client liaison—when necessary— on the opposite.” and, on occasion, a bit of an –Fred Bennink in-house cheerleader. “We create an environment where people


CEO Fred Bennink attributes much of his success to never micromanaging.


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aren’t afraid to make a mistake,” he says. “But an important, and fun, part of my job is to recognize their good work and single it out— unlike micromanagers, who typically dwell on the opposite.” Bennink also conducts monthly “state of the company” meetings to establish the coming month’s goals, recognize outstanding work that led to the previous month’s goals being met, and go over some of the company’s generous employeebenefit programs. These include monthly profit sharing and a continuing employee education program, which Zip Signs helps underwrite. While his project managers do the day-to-day managing, Bennink himself keeps in close touch with clients. This allows him to learn about his teams’ strengths and shortcomings directly, and he relays this information to his managers so that they can modify their processes and improve Zip Signs’ service delivery. “When clients tell me where we’re falling short, I’ve been in this business long enough to have a good understanding of what needs to be done to improve the service,” Bennink says. “It seldom takes more than a couple of minutes for me to explain the client feedback to the managers for them to understand—and not long after for them to make any necessary modifications to the rest of their team members. The process is well honed to a fine edge, and tangible improvement becomes apparent very quickly.” With his company now consistently meeting its short-term goals, Bennink has begun setting his sights further into the future. “I’ve been here for 30 years, so I can see my days here winding down,” he says, quickly adding, “That won’t come anytime soon because I’m having too much fun. But, we visit and revisit our strategic and tactical term goals. My son and son-in-law are part of the business, so we are leisurely developing a management succession plan well in advance of the day it will actually occur. We’re also developing five-year plans surrounding service, sales, and staffing modifications to the organization. Just the technology of our business and how it can quickly change makes these a necessity. And it keeps us on the leading edge of success.” _a 134


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With no plans to retire anytime soon, Bennink has already begun succession planning.

Zip Signs


By the Numbers

Number of years Zip Signs has shown a profit since Bennink bought the company

22 Number of years that Zip Signs has exceeded 25% compounded growth

1 million Number of consecutive hours without lost employment time due to a workplace accident

fifty-four Record number of consecutive months during which employees received profit-sharing checks

4 Number of nonprofit boards and committees that Bennink currently sits on

TD Securities

Proveer congratulates the team at Zip Signs for 40 years of success in the sign industry. CONGRATULATIONS!

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How Boralex Overcame the Downturn of 2008 Eight steps the renewable-energy developer and CFO Jean-François Thibodeau took to stay afloat By Christopher Cussat

Increase financial consciousness According to vice president and CFO Jean-François Thibodeau, the business model of renewableenergy power station developer and manager Boralex is capital-intensive, and the firm requires constant access to capital markets to pursue its strategy and growth objectives. “When the first part of the financial crisis started back in 2008,” he says, “it became obvious to us that we needed to limit any equity issuance to raise cash, and we became even more financially disciplined than ever.” The goal was to keep as much of the cash generated from Boralex’s operations and use it toward the development of the company’s pipeline of projects. “Consequently, we decided to temporarily reduce our growth targets and, at the same time, increased our returns for new projects,” Thibodeau says.


Fund projects individually While knuckling down fiscally, Boralex continued using a nonrecourse project-financing strategy so that each of its projects was funded on a stand-alone basis, the objective being to maximize the debt leverage and the duration of the loans in line with the life of the contracts. “This also protected the shareholders against the risk of a single project greatly affecting the value of our stock,” Thibodeau says. Then, in 2011, it became apparent that the traditional banks that used to lend long-term money for renewable projects were leaving the market, so Boralex also had to look for new institutions that were still willing to finance projects.



advantage advantage

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MEET jean-franÇois thibodeau Boralex is a Canadian leader in the development and operation of renewable-energy power stations in North America and Europe. With more than 20 years of experience in this sector, the firm employs more than 200 people, and 45 percent of its production capacity is located in France. A CPA by trade, Jean-François Thibodeau became vice president and CFO of Boralex in 2003. Since then, he has helped quintuple the firm’s assets to $1.2 billion while increasing Boralex’s market capitalization to approximately $375 million. Thibodeau has also negotiated over $2 billion in various project and corporate financial dealings, and he is happy to be celebrating his 10th anniversary with the company. Thanks in part to his help, Boralex is now poised to double its size in terms of capacity before the end of 2016.

Game Plan

Seek out creative ROI strategies

Dump unwanted assets

Around the same time, Boralex and its partner Gaz Métro were developing their largest wind station ever. The project, which should be in operation by the end of 2013, represents investments of approximately $725 million. Boralex’s target was to raise roughly $600 million in debt to pursue the construction, but it also wanted to achieve the return it had communicated to the market. “So we needed to become more creative and evaluated every possible financing option available to us,” Thibodeau says.

Boralex also reviewed its portfolio and decided to exit a certain asset class, which translated into the sale of all its US biomass facilities. “It helped us generate a net amount of approximately $80 million, which is now used towards the development of less risky and more profitable projects in the wind and hydroelectric sectors,” Thibodeau says.



Maximize operational revenues Thibodeau believes that, in addition to exercising financial discipline, companies must also make sure people are focused on maximizing the results and cash generated from current operations. “Also, I reviewed all options open to the company with the objective to raise cash without the need to go to the equity market,” he says.


Self-arrange project financing Boralex decided to become the arranger of the financing, which is not necessarily done by developers when normal markets exist. “This is because you need to negotiate with a large group of financial institutions,” Thibodeau says, “and it takes a lot more time from your resources to make everyone happy and close a deal.” The firm won two international prizes, from Project Finance Magazine and Project Finance International, for its creative solutions and for closing such a large amount of financing in a deteriorating environment.


Explore new funding markets The firm then looked at new markets for banks, including Japanese and German. “The real positive factor is that we decided to use the export agency from the country [Germany] of our manufacturer,” Thibodeau says. In exchange for a premium, Boralex was guaranteeing a portion of the loans with a Triple-A rating. “So it helped bringing more banks into the deal but also nontraditional institutions [such as pension funds] that never in the past loaned under a project-finance structure,” Thibodeau says. In other words, the measure increased the liquidity available for the noncovered portion of the loans. “We were then able to raise the full amount we needed at a total cost that was below our initial objectives,” Thibodeau adds.


Watch for timely opportunities Thibodeau contends that the renewable-energy sector offers many opportunities and you need to catch them at the right moment for the right price. “That means you need the lowest cost of funds possible so that you can redeploy towards high-return projects,” he says. Thibodeau says his sale of US biomass facilities is now looking more and more like the sound strategy Boralex needed to raise some cash. “While the environment was not the best for an asset sale, I kept pushing towards that solution because it was the lowest cost for new cash, and these assets did not fit anymore in our targeted risk-reward profile,” he says. “We were finally able to find a strategic buyer for these assets that paid the right price, and we were able to achieve our goal.”


A message from Deloitte

We are honoured that Boralex selected Deloitte’s SAP-based Renewable Energy Solution as its system platform for growth. Congratulations to Jean-François Thibodeau for his continued leadership and proven accomplishments. We share your business vision and are proud to be your partner. A message from td bank

TD Bank Group has enjoyed our relationship with Jean-François Thibodeau as CFO of Boralex for nearly a decade. TD values the success of important clients such as Boralex and has been pleased to witness Boralex’s remarkable growth and development during Jean-François’ tenure as CFO.

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View of the Nechalacho Camp across Thor Lake in autumn. Nechalacho is one of the few advanced-stage rare earth projects outside of China.

green thumbs

How is Avalon Rare Metals committing itself to sustainability? By engaging the locals and finding win-win solutions through socially responsible mining. by zach baliva


n the summer of 2012, First Nations and aboriginal peoples gathered to protest the behaviours of local and national governments in many parts of Canada. The groups, citing insufficient engagement at all levels of government, formed blockades on railroad lines and major throughways, halting mining and construction projects. But Avalon Rare Metals, a development-stage mineral development company with sustainability and social responsibility built into its DNA, demonstrates that many of these problems can be avoided by engaging with local communities and seeking meaningful partnerships. Founded by Donald S. Bubar, the organization is focused on the development of rare earth mineral deposits. Its flagship project is the Nechalacho Rare Earth Element deposit, located in the Northwest Territories. Rare earth elements are used to form materials that become essential components in high-tech products such as wind turbines, electric and hybrid vehicles, and smartphones. Currently, China controls 95

percent of the world’s supply of rare earth elements and has been using quotas and consolidation of state-owned companies to reduce the amount available for export. Avalon’s Nechalacho project, rich in the more valuable, heavy rare earth elements, is one of the few advancedstage rare earth projects outside of China. The project’s feasibility study is expected to be released in the coming months, distinguishing the company from rare earth juniors who are just completing their preliminary economic assessments (PEAs) or prefeasibility studies (PFSs). If all goes according to plan, construction will begin in 2014, and Nechalacho will be in production by late 2016 or early 2017, providing producers of high-tech products with a secure and sustainable supply of rare earth elements. Avalon, a 30-person company with three offices (in Yellowknife, Vancouver, and Toronto), expects to mine at Thor Lake, Northwest Territories, for 20 years. The work site, which includes the proposed mine at Thor Lake and a hydrometallurgy plant at Pine Point, is home to four communities of the Dene Nation. advantage

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green thumbs

Richard Pratt, vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary for Avalon, says his company is dedicated to sustainability and ensuring that the people of the surrounding communities benefit from the project. “Our president helped create an Aboriginal Affairs Committee with the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada that fosters communication between companies and communities,” Pratt says. “His focus on aboriginal engagement has affected our leadership culture in all aspects of environmental and social engagement.” In fact, Avalon’s relationship with its aboriginal partners is central to the Nechalacho project. “It goes both ways,” Pratt says. “We

benefit in the exchange of knowledge from them, and they benefit from employment opportunities and shared ownership in the endeavour.” Avalon works with the aboriginal groups to understand environmental and cultural impact as well as wildlife and economic issues. “We’re not just paying royalties and handing out buckets of cash,” Pratt says. “We’re really working together.” When aboriginal elders tell Avalon executives where local caribou migrate, for example, the company can better plan workflow to minimize its effect on the animals’ migration patterns. Understanding the historic use of lakes in the area helps Avalon extract valuable rare earth and heavy rare

the word on green Richard Pratt, vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary for Avalon, has worked in mining, manufacturing, broadcasting, and technology over the course of his 20-year career. He obtained an Honours BComm from the University of Manitoba and a BL from Dalhousie University. Below, he offers some thoughts on socially conscious mining.

Sustainable Behaviours: “The key idea here is engagement. It’s not just our executives talking to chiefs; we are focused on building real relationships that benefit both parties in real ways.” Sustainable Education: “Mining is a highly valuable activity that we can perform in a sustainable way as long as our leaders, our employees, and our partners all understand the vision we are trying to accomplish.” Social Responsibility: “This can refer to a compliance culture or a leadership culture. We prefer to be leaders in this area instead of compliers.” 140


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earth elements without destroying aboriginal land and tradition. Last year, Avalon published its first Corporate Sustainability Report, based on Global Reporting Initiative performance indicators, a significant endeavour for a junior mining company. These steps, along with Avalon’s positive relationship with its aboriginal partners, have paid dividends. “These policies give us social license to operate and bring great benefits,” Pratt says, adding that Avalon enjoys local support from communities, companies, and contractors. Avalon’s efforts to engage the aboriginals at Nechalacho earned it PDAC’s 2010 Environmental & Social Responsibility Award. In April 2005, after acquiring the project, Bubar met with chiefs and elders of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation before even applying for a land-use permit. Then Avalon hired workers from local First Nations to clean work sites ruined by previous mining companies, and the company asked the Dene elders to name the project. (Nechalacho translates to “Long Point.”) The Dene then performed a traditional ceremony upon the land. “They have literal ownership in the project and a voice in management and operations,” Pratt says. Today, Avalon continues to employ aboriginal people and has helped deliver two training programs. Additionally, First Nation communities receive preferential access to bidding on contracts to supply goods and services at Nechalacho. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement for all parties involved. _a

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Rosenzweig & Company is a high-end global talent management firm that focuses on critical, specialized executive search, organizational effectiveness, and leadership assessment. The principals of the firm bring decades of global, “big firm” expertise to the table, yet work within the context of boutique firm rigour.

green thumbs

VP and CIO Greg Stewart (far left) with an Enerflex operations team in the Oman Desert.

Proud to advise Avalon Rare Metals. Fasken Martineau is proud to provide Aboriginal law advice and to assist Richard Pratt and Avalon Rare Metals in relation to First Nation consultation and agreements. We help build sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal groups.



What does being CIO have to do with the environment? A whole lot, actually. Enerflex’s Greg Stewart illustrates why influencing sound business decisions involves influencing I.T. infrastructure by benjamin van loon


s a single-source provider of solutions for the international oil and gas industry, Enerflex Ltd. offers hightech processing products and services for refrigeration, carbon dioxide, heavy-oil, and particularly natural-gas applications, the Alberta-based company’s core focus. Enerflex also offers mechanical services and compression and power-generation solutions, and because it’s so intimately involved in energy production and management, its services are, in most ways, contingent upon the ever-evolving policies, procedures, and interests of the environmentally impactful energy industry. Greg Stewart, VP and chief information officer of Enerflex, stands at the intersection of the fundamentally dynamic IT sector and his company’s own fluctuating mission. And it’s here that Stewart’s combined technology and business background, sharpened by an

MBA from McMaster University, becomes indispensable as he helps the company remain environmentally responsible while expanding its network across the globe. “One of the perceptions informationtechnology teams often have is that business units don’t understand IT’s role, and vice versa,” Stewart says. “That is why listening is essential, and building solutions collaboratively is how to ensure success.” Stewart came to Enerflex in 2009. The company was leveraging numerous mergers and acquisitions, and because its services extend far beyond Canada’s borders—into places as far-flung as the Middle East, Russia, and Australia—Enerflex realized it needed someone manning the technical helm of its increasingly global operation, which has a current revenue of more than $1.5 billion and employs more than 3,200 worldwide. Stewart left an eight-year tenure as vice president of business services at Superior advantage

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green thumbs

“You can’t declare victory until the business value promised is actually derived, so collaboration with my peers in defining success is essential for a positive outcome.” —greg stewart, Vice President & CIO

Propane to fill the newly created CIO position at Enerflex. “There was a mandate, when I joined, to establish a long-term enterprise architecture for what success looked like for IT at Enerflex,” Stewart says. “There was a multitude of disparate systems, and as the saying goes, this creates multiple versions of the truth. Building an integration strategy and road map was key.” Thanks to his dual experience, Stewart has been able to more clearly articulate his IT department’s value. “In a business context, I’m working with the executive team to have information technology be an enabler and provide more of a strategic advantage,” Stewart says. “For example, an IT project might implement a new system and call that a success, but the business unit won’t see the upside. You can’t declare victory until the business value promised is actually derived, so collaboration with my peers in defining success is essential for a positive outcome.” In 2013, Stewart was awarded the C-Suite Energy Executive CIO Award by Alberta Oil magazine, which recognized the impacts of his activity at the intersection of information, environment, and business. It is through the integration of IT and business—and understanding the role of technology as it complements strategy—that Stewart, as CIO, has been able to help Enerflex implement its best solutions. His work has directly impacted the business environment and, correspondingly, the labour and ecological environment. “If you look at the technologies of this industry as they have developed recently—fracking and horizontal drilling, for example— we’ve now gone to a position of having a net surplus of natural gas,” Stewart says. “This creates an opportunity for us because we’re supporting gathering systems to get gas to the pipelines, and we’re doing this internationally.” For Stewart, the pleasures of his job come in the constant work of wrangling his various, sometimes conflicting interests in line with one another. “Where the CIO role is a challenge—and also a lot of fun—is that it is multidimensional,” he says. “On one hand, you have a constantly changing industry. On the other, you have technology, also constantly evolving. If you think of this like a Rubik’s Cube, the challenge is that sometimes the colours change on the fly. You’re never completely done with your work.” _a 142


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the word on green As the CIO of Enerflex, an international energy-solutions provider, Greg Stewart relies on a combination of business acumen and IT experience. Here, he reacts to some of the larger ideas impacting the world’s business and ecological environments.

Communication: “Perspective and listening.” Technology: “Enabling and strategic.” Sustainable Education: “Change management and long-term perspective.” Alternative Fuels: “Opportunity.” Manufacturing: “Solutions.”

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great satisfaction is granted to the few who can look back on their day and feel that what they’ve spent their time doing has benefitted someone else. For Shanu Mohamedali and the company he founded, Smoke NV Inc., that daily sense of accomplishment is bound up with the idea of satisfaction itself. The e-cigarettes that the company designs and sells allow users the tangible satisfaction of smoking while reducing the harm done by the habit. Combining a physician’s attitude toward well-being with an entrepreneur’s pragmatic approach to design and safety, Smoke NV has developed a

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product that accomplishes its goal of not only satisfying but helping its customers. The son of a career nurse, Mohamedali watched most of his close friends at the University of Alberta go on to become physicians, and his own postcollege ambitions centred on business and profitability in the health care industry. Mohamedali’s first business was a clinic used mainly for Botox injections, which were not as common at the time he opened the facility in 2000. “It was something that really interested me—the medical field,” Mohamedali says. “My business partner in the venture was a physician friend of mine, and my mother, who had retired by that time, ran the clinic.” Opportunity in the medical industry struck again in 2007, when another of Mohamedali’s friends graduated from medical school and they bought and restructured a clinic together. The two were able to run it more efficiently and with less overhead for the practitioners there. “It’s tough for a physician in Canada to come out of school and go work at a clinic where they typically pay an overhead of 35–40 percent of what they bill,” Mohamedali says. “An average doctor can bill $500,000–$600,000 a year; that’s a lot to payback.” Mohamedali and his partner were able to get overhead costs down 27 percent, and keeping the money in their physician’s pockets caught on. The clinic that started with eight doctors grew into a group of 62 doctors in eight different locations. During this time, Mohamedali began following the e-cigarette industry, and he


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noticed a number of problems. “When [it was] first introduced, the e-cigarette was made of cheap material, produced no real vapour, and generally didn’t work all that well,” he says. “But I started to see the product idea itself as possibly a great thing for smokers and brought it to my board of directors in 2006.” His team identified things to change right away. First, the device had no regulator, which meant there was nothing controlling the amount of nicotine the user was injecting, whereas with a cigarette, there’s a fixed dose. Second, a lot of effort was put into finding the right manufacturer overseas. “It was very important to bring the medical directors with us to the countries we were looking at, because they might see something I wouldn’t,” Mohamedali says. “We interviewed the factories, visited their sites, and together we saw some alarming things that needed to be addressed.” Many of the prospective manufacturers, for instance, were making the product’s electric components and liquid solution at the same factory. Also, they were testing the finished products by actually blowing on them, then wiping the tips before packaging. Mohamedali’s firm invented a

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device to test an e-cigarette without blowing on it, and it made its product safer by using all-natural tree-extract glue—rather than crazy glue that can potentially release harmful toxins—to attach the e-cigarette’s atomizer to a nylon housing. Looking forward, Mohamedali and his team are considering manufacturing the e-cigarettes’ liquid solution in Canada, and they hope to promote the product not only as a harm-reduction device but also as a quitting aide without nicotine in it. “In the next two years,” Mohamedali says, “the product will be more and more intended to be used in conjuncture with a patch or gum to improve quitting success rates.” —Ashley T. Kjos


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Top Tips

How to Change Careers Eight steps to get you on a professional path that’s right for you Not everyone starts out with their dream job. Finding the right occupation or career path takes hard work and patience, especially if that means shifting gears after you’re already established. So how do you get from point A to point B? As the managing director of The Workforce Consultants, Lynda Zugec has coached and trained executives across

North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Prominent in academe and practice, Zugec routinely advises on leadership and career development. Among other publications, she has been cited on FOX Business, MSN, CBS, and US News & World Report. Here, she’s put together eight Cs for career changers to abide by.

Connect with others

conduct research & learn about the industry Before making a career change, it would be a good idea to review all possibilities and get an understanding of your chosen field. Read industry journals, attend conferences, and learn whether your target industry has growth potential.

Consider the right time The best time to consider a new career is when you feel that other aspects in your life are moving along well. Financial, family, and health status are key considerations when contemplating a career change.

contact mentors Career changers would benefit by developing a “mentor network” of diverse individuals. Typically we associate mentoring with a one-to-one relationship, but that need not be the case. In fact, different individuals can contribute to the mentoring process in various ways. Those with a business background can provide a general understanding of the way organizations work. More-seasoned professionals can give guidance regarding next steps and career progression. Individuals with international experience can spur insights that others may not have. And although we rarely seek out mentors who are younger than us, they can keep us updated on technology and help us form an accurate perspective on the upcoming generation.

Calculate transferable skills

For career changers, it would be advantageous to conduct an assessment of the transferable knowledge and skills that were developed in the previous career and how they may apply to the new career path. Interpersonal skills, problem-solving abilities, and project management are all examples of knowledge and skills that can be applied in differing contexts and careers.

Check all available platforms It’s important to exhaust all the available ways to reach your goals. Consider social media, networks, associations, friends, and family. 146

advantage advantage

ooct ct//nnoovv//ddeecc 22013 013

When evaluating a career change, one of the most fruitful approaches may be to connect with others who are currently in the desired career path. These individuals will be highly cognizant of the qualifications required and will be able to provide insights as to potential opportunities. They will have an understanding of how their career has changed and what the future has in store.

Construct a clear plan One of the smartest moves you can make is to carefully map out an effective career-change strategy. Without a plan, follow-through and maintenance of a concrete direction decreases. A successful career change can take several months or longer to accomplish, so patience is key.

Contemplate your training needs Develop a personal plan for your training. Find out what is required to move your career to the next level. This may include courses you need to complete, online webinars you can attend, or more formal and specific training. Staying ahead of the game will advance your skills and, by extension, your career.

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Advantage #14  

Oct/Nov/Dec 2013. The Entrepreneur Issue. Cover featuring Namita Nijjar of Simcoe Place Health Clinic.

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