2021 Conference Speakers


Karen Hogan, CPA, CA, Auditor General of Canada

The Auditor General of Canada is an Officer of Parliament appointed for a non-renewable 10 year term upon resolution of the House of Commons and Senate. The Auditor General’s responsibilities include:

  • auditing operations of the federal and territorial governments;
  • providing Parliament and the legislative assemblies with independent information, assurance, and advice regarding the stewardship of public funds.

Karen Hogan was appointed Auditor General of Canada in June 2020.

Karen Hogan holds a bachelor’s degree and graduate diploma in accounting from Concordia University in Montréal. Fully bilingual, she is a member of the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. She has over 25 years of professional experience in accounting and auditing.

Ms. Hogan began her career in the private sector, working first as an auditor at a Montréal-based accounting firm and then as a manager at another private firm in Thunder Bay and Ottawa. She joined the Office of the Auditor General of Canada in 2006 and has served as Assistant Auditor General since January 2019.

During her time at the Office of the Auditor General, Ms. Hogan has helped shape organizational change and strategic direction. Her work has included leading the audit of the consolidated financial statements of the Government of Canada and contributing to the delivery of a new report to help Parliamentarians and Canadians understand complex financial matters and the importance of financial audits for Canada. Ms. Hogan also contributed to the development and delivery of a new talent management strategy for the Office. She supports standard setting in Canada as a member of the Public Sector Accounting Discussion Group.

Outside of work, in addition to spending time with her husband and two children, Ms. Hogan is also actively involved in her community, serves on the board of directors of a not-for-profit organization, and supports competitive swimming as a certified swim official

Mayor Naheed Nenshi, The City of Calgary

Naheed Nenshi, A’paistootsiipsii, was sworn in as Calgary’s 36th mayor on October 25, 2010 and was re-elected in 2013 and 2017.

Prior to being elected, Mayor Nenshi was with McKinsey and Company, later forming his own business to help public, private and non-profit organizations grow. He designed policy for the Government of Alberta, helped create a Canadian strategy for The Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy, and worked with the United Nations to determine how business can help the poorest people on the planet. He then entered academia, where he was Canada’s first tenured professor in the field of nonprofit management, at Mount Royal University’s Bissett School of Business.

For his work, Mayor Nenshi was named a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, was awarded the President’s Award from the Canadian Institute of Planners, and received the Humanitarian Award from the Canadian Psychological Association for his contributions to community mental health. In 2013, after his stewardship of the community during devastating flooding, Maclean’s magazine called him the second-most influential person in Canada, after the Prime Minister. He was also awarded the 2014 World Mayor Prize by the UK-based City Mayor’s Foundation as the best mayor in the world.

In 2014, he was also honoured by Elder Pete Standing Alone with the Blackfoot name A’paistootsiipsii, which means “Clan Leader” or “He who moves camp and the others follow”. In 2016, Elder Bruce Starlight of the Tsuu T’ina First Nation honoured him with the name Iitiya: “Always Ready”.

Mayor Nenshi holds a Bachelor of Commerce (with distinction) from the University of Calgary, where he was President of the Students’ Union, and a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he studied as a Kennedy Fellow.

Clyde MacLellan, FCPA, FCA, CHAIR, Public Sector Acccounting Board

Clyde MacLellan was appointed as an Assistant Auditor General of Canada in 2008. He was responsible for the Office’s audit work related to federal Crown corporations and other similar quasi-independent federal entities.  This also included responsibility for the international audit work of the Office of the Auditor General which currently includes the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and representing the Office of the Auditor General of Canada at the United Nations Panel of External Auditors and its technical working group.

Before joining the Office of the Auditor General of Canada in 1991, Clyde was a lecturer of accounting and auditing courses in the undergraduate faculty of Commerce at Saint-Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He also provided audit, accounting, tax, and business advisory services at Deloitte & Touche in Halifax.

Clyde has contributed to the work of many task forces, including segmented reporting, indicators of financial condition and concepts underlying financial performance. He has also served the accounting and auditing profession internationally.  Clyde has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Acadia University (Nova Scotia).

Michael Puskaric, Director, Public Sector Accounting Standards, Public Sector Accounting Board

Michael is the Director, Public Sector Accounting Standards for the Public Sector Accounting Board. His role is to be the champion for improving public sector accounting practices across Canada by sharing knowledge, encouraging collaboration and leading the development of standards. Michael has a broad base of experience based on 20 years working in public, private and not-for-profit sector organizations.

His is a member of the special advisory committee to the Auditor General of Canada that provides advise and consultation on financial accounting and auditing matters. Michael is a part-time professor of public sector and not-for-profit-accounting at Ryerson University and holds a Chartered Professional Accountant designation and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Schulich School of Business at York University.


Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux

Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux served as Vice Provost for Indigenous Initiatives at Lakehead University for three years. Effective September 2016 she was appointed as the 1st Indigenous Chair for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada for Lakehead University and continues to develop pathways forward to reconciliation across Canada.

Cynthia was the inaugural Nexen Chair for Indigenous Leadership at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and remains a faculty member in the Indigenous Learning program. She is the Chair of the Teach for Canada non-profit which recruits teachers for remote First Nation schools. Cynthia was inducted as a “Honourary Witness” by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2014 and is the Chair of the Governing Circle for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.

She is a member and resident of the Chippewa of Georgina Island First Nation in Ontario and has dedicated her life to building bridges of understanding. She sees endless merit in bringing people from diverse cultures, ages, and backgrounds together to engage in practical dialogue and applied research initiatives. She is deeply committed to public education and active youth engagement from all cultures and backgrounds. She co-founded a youth project out of the University of Toronto, the University of Saskatchewan and Lakehead University. More information on the Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) can be found at: www.canadianroots.ca.

(For further information on Truth and Reconciliation, a suggested reading list can be found here)

Matthieu Arseneau, Deputy Chief Economist & Managing Director, Economy & Strategy Group, National Bank Financial Markets

Matthieu Arseneau joined National Bank of Canada in 2005 and has been a member of the Economy and Strategy Group since 2009. His responsibilities include writing analyses of trends in the North American economy and contributing to the development of forecasting scenarios. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the CIRANO. Before joining the Economy and Strategy team, Mr. Arseneau worked in risk management at National Bank Financial Group, where his responsibilities included analysis of a range of Canadian industries and development of quantitative tools for risk modelling. He previously worked at the Research Chair in Taxation and Public Finance at the Université de Sherbrooke, gaining expertise in areas including the impact of demographic change on the economy and public finances. Mr. Arseneau holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Université de Montréal and a master’s degree in economics from the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Leroy Little Bear

Leroy Little Bear’s lifetime of accomplishment includes some of the most important political achievements for Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world. His dedication to education, leadership, community-building and advocacy has led to a United Nations declaration, changed the Constitution of Canada and influenced the lives of thousands of students.

Leroy is from the Blood Indian Reserve (Kainai First Nation) in Southern Alberta. Growing up as one of seven siblings, his childhood was spent working on farms and participating in local cultural activities, such as Sun Dances and Pow Wows.  At age 10, Leroy attended school for the first time, at the on-reserve residential school. This experience influenced the educational path he would follow later in his life.

Leroy completed his undergraduate degree in Lethbridge and at the University of New Mexico and continued his education, attending law school at the University of Utah.

Leroy returned to Lethbridge to run the newly created Native American Studies program, one of the first of its kind in Canada.  As a professor, he developed courses in Native law, philosophy, history, political and social issues, health, arts and language. Leroy was also the founding director of the inter-faculty Native American Program at Harvard University, where he taught briefly.

Leroy was also an integral member of the legal team advising the National Indian Brotherhood on the transfer of Canada’s founding legislation, the British North America Act, from British to Canadian authority. His team’s negotiations resulted in the Constitution of Canada’s Section 35, which recognizes and enshrines Indigenous rights. This case resulted in Leroy Little Bear becoming the first Indigenous person cited in Canada’s Supreme Court.

As a member of the Task Force on the Criminal Justice System and as part of the legal team advising the National Indian Brotherhood on Indigenous legal matters, he has spent years working to improve the administration of justice for, and its impact on, the Indian and Métis Peoples of Alberta. Leroy has also been directly involved in strategic planning and consulting on Treaties 6, 7 and 8, and he drafted the declaration re-establishing the Blackfoot Confederacy and the constitutional framework for Blood Tribe governance, the Kainaisini.

Beyond Canada’s borders, Leroy played a central role in the first international Indigenous treaty in more than 150 years. The Buffalo: A Treaty Cooperation, Renewal and Restoration of 2014 formalized a commitment to restore the buffalo and to maintain associated indigenous cultural traditions. Little Bear was awarded the prestigious National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Education, the highest honour bestowed by Canada’s First Nations community.

Leroy worked with the United Nations establishing a working group on Indigenous populations that originated the concept and initial draft of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This declaration has since been ratified by 144 member states of the UN, and is being implemented by the Government of Alberta.

He is still teaching at the University of Lethbridge and remains the Senior Advisor to the Office of the President on Aboriginal Initiatives. He has been actively involved in the university’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and continues to advocate for the return of the buffalo to southern Alberta.  Leroy also sits on the board of governors of the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

Leroy received an Honourary Doctor of Arts and Science degree from the University of Lethbridge, an Honourary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Northern British Columbia, was recognized as an Eminent Scholar (Honourary) by the Blood Reserve and received an Urban Aboriginal Lifetime Achievement Award from the Aboriginal Council of Lethbridge. The University of Lethbridge First Nations, Métis and Inuit Gathering Place was named Iikaisskini, meaning “low horn” in honour of Leroy Little Bear.  Little Bear was inducted into the Alberta Order Excellence and the Order of Canada in 2016 and 2019,

Dr Little Bear is the co-author of several books on self-government and Aboriginal rights, including Pathways to Self Determination, Quest For Justice, and Governments in Conflict. His credits also include a variety of influential articles such as, ‘A concept of Native Title,’ which was cited in a Canadian Supreme Court decision.

Bio information edited from Government of Alberta



Imraan Bashir, B.SC, CISSP, Partner & National Public Sector Cyber Leader, KPMG

Imraan is a seasoned executive with 20+ years of experience advising on cyber security and information technology matters to a wide variety of public and private sector clients. Imraan is well-versed in multiple areas of cyber security, including governance, strategy, incident management, cloud security, risk management, digital identity and more. 

Prior to joining KPMG, Imraan spent time in the public sector, where he directed the policy, strategy, implementation and oversight of Government of Canada enterprise-wide cyber initiatives, including leadership of key programs such as cloud security and digital identity. In this role, Imraan was exposed to a wide range of cyber security challenges from departments of varying complexity, which positions him well to provide tailored advice to public sector organizations of all sizes.

Imraan prides himself on providing pragmatic security guidance, with a focus on enabling a safe and positive user experience in the digital world. Imraan’s work in this space has been recognized globally for its success, as he was named one of the world’s top 100 most influential people in digital government by Apolitical in 2019. That same year, he also landed a spot as a guest author in the CLX forum’s Canadian Cybersecurity 2020 book.

Karine Benzacar, MBA, FCPA, FCMA, CFA, US CPA, Managing Director, Knowledge Plus Corp.

Karine Benzacar has been teaching for the Smith School of Business at Queens university since 2010. She is also Managing Director of Knowledge Plus Corp., an organization which specializes both in business training and in providing financial, accounting, and management information services. As a professional accountant, certified both in Canada and in the U.S., Karine’s practice has involved organizations all across North America. Her clients include many companies – large companies, such as the Bank of Nova Scotia, Magna, and IBM, start-up firms and the public sector, such as various departments of the Government of Canada.

Karine is a seasoned industry professional with over 25 years of solid industry experience. After beginning her career in the finance departments of Kraft Foods and Avon Products, she held senior financial management positions at three major Canadian Banks – Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, and Bank of Montreal. Her career has spanned many areas including budgeting, accounting, finance, project management, re-engineering, and strategic management. She is fluently bilingual in English and French.

Karine obtained an MBA from McGill University in Montreal. In addition to her industry experience, Karine has been teaching undergraduate, MBA, and Masters of Finance courses at several leading universities which include University of Toronto, Queens University, Concordia University, and Ryerson University. She is a highly acclaimed industry expert, has presented at national and international industry conferences, and has been facilitating professional development courses for CPAs for over 10 years. She helped develop and marked professional accounting exams. She has also trained hundreds of bankers in Canada, the U.S., and the Caribbean on credit analysis. She has published numerous articles in leading journals such as the National Post, Financial Post, CMA Management Magazine, HR Reporter, HRPA Magazine, Bottom Line and the RMA Journal and has been quoted as an industry expert in industry publications. She was awarded the FCPA designation an honorary designation where she was selected by her industry peers for her outstanding contributions to the industry, profession, and the community; this designation is held by less than 1% of CPAs in Canada. She was also instrumental in training accountants throughout Canada on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Jamie Black, President, F.H. Black & Company Incorporated

For more than 20 years Jamie has consulted with and trained finance officers, auditors & accountants in government, higher education, and corporations throughout Canada and the U.S. His work focuses on increasing finance department efficiency & effectiveness through the implementation of technology & best practices.

Jamie began his professional career in public practice where he was responsible for compilation, review, audit, personal & corporate tax engagements. He then transitioned his focus to leverage this experience and technology background to work with clients to improve their operations. From conducting needs analyses to the implementation of redesigned processes and new technology solutions, Jamie focused on delivering quantifiable improvements for his clients.

Jamie is CAGFO board member and a regular speaker & trainer on process automation, internal controls, data analytics & communication best practices for numerous organizations including: CAGFO, GFOABC, MFOA, CAUBO & MIAA.

Jason Brisbane, MBA, Senior Finance Transformation Specialist, BlackLine

Jason Brisbane, MBA, is a finance and accounting professional turned product marketer with 9+ years of experience. As a senior finance transformation specialist at BlackLine, he is responsible for helping companies automate manual accounting processes and delivering messaging on how companies can gain more time to focus on actionable analysis and business partnership.

Ian Carruthers, Chair, International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB)

Ian Carruthers became Chair of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) in 2016, having been a Board Member since 2010. As a Board Member he led IPSASB’s work on Long Term Financial Sustainability and alignment between IPSASs and Government Finance Statistics. Currently in his second term as Chair, Ian has been reappointed for a third term through to the end of 2024.

After joining HM Treasury from PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1999, Mr. Carruthers played a key role in the UK Government’s transition from cash to accrual budgeting and reporting, in particular leading its Whole of Government Accounts programme. He joined Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) in 2006. CIPFA promotes and supports improvements in public financial management and governance across the public services globally. As part-time Chair, CIPFA Standards, Mr. Carruthers has been involved in all these aspects of the Institute’s activities, including leading its work on the role of the public services CFO, and the development of the International Framework for Good Governance in the Public Sector in partnership with the International Federation of Accountants.

Charet Chahal, First Vice-President, CFA, Portfolio Manager, Investment Advisor, CIBC Wood Gundy

CIBC Wood Gundy Chairman’s Council member – the highest honor bestowed upon the firm’s Investment Advisors.

Charet is a University of Calgary graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. With over 10 years of experience, Charet is a registered IIROC Portfolio Manager and oversees both transactional and discretionary portfolios for clients. He is a CFA® Charterholder and maintains memberships with the CFA Institute and Calgary CFA Society. Charet also holds the Chartered Investment Manager (CIM®) designation, along with a Certificate in Derivative Market Strategies. Prior to joining CIBC Wood Gundy, Charet worked in the Oil and Gas sector, developing a wealth of experience in energy markets. Charet also managed and led a start-up business venture to be listed on the public exchange. Charet is an avid supporter of the Calgary Children’s Hospital.


Julia Cziraky, Consultant, Hemson

With nearly a decade of professional consulting experience in the fields of planning and municipal finance, Julia has played a prominent role in a wide range of fiscal impact, long range financial planning, development charges, and financial incentive assignments for municipalities across Canada, including her recent involvement in Edmonton’s City Plan Relative Financial Assessment and Growth Management Scoping Project. Julia holds a Master of Planning degree from Queen’s University and is a Professional Land Economist (PLE) and Registered Professional Planner (MCIP, RPP).

Thomas V. Duke, Partner, Miller Thompson Lawyers

Tom Duke is an experienced labour and employment lawyer. Tom advises clients, including employers in federally and provincially regulated industries, on a wide range of matters such as human rights, employment standards, terminations, and workplace safety.
Tom provides prompt and pragmatic advice on discipline issues. He also has diverse litigation experience that includes commercial disputes, shareholder disputes, and negligence cases. Tom has appeared in the Provincial Court, the Court of Queen’s Bench, and the Court of Appeal, as well as administrative hearings before the Labour Relations Board and the Human Rights Tribunal.
Tom has presented lectures and seminars on employment law and other issues. Prior to attending law school, Tom worked in broadcast journalism.
Tom is an active member of his community and is involved in minor sports.

Nancy Eng, CPA, CA, Senior Director, Financial Services, Vancouver Police Department

Nancy has spent over 20 years working in the police finance sector at both the municipal level, with the Vancouver Police Department, and previously at the provincial level with the Organized Crime Agency of BC and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.    Notably, implementing sound financial and budgeting practices, policies and procedures, and reporting and accountability processes, she had led the VPD to 16 consecutive years of being on budget.  Nancy is actively involved in fostering local and national peer networks for police finance professionals.

Todd Eyolfson, CPA, CGA, CITP, Director of Education, CaseWare

As CaseWare International’s Director of Education, Todd has supported clients through their technology adoption journey. He has written training material, assisted with implementation in firms large and small, and has consulted with thousands of professional accountants globally on CaseWare applications.

When Todd is not supporting clients, he is often invited to contribute to sessions as a public speaker. Todd has participated in the CaseWare International North American User Group targeted to large firms, led sessions at CGA Ontario Chapter events, chaired CGA Ontario’s Annual Conference, and has presented several Canadian and US conferences.



Wendy Gnenz, CPA, CA, Partner, Technology Solutions, MNP

Wendy is a member of MNP’s Technology Solutions team in Edmonton. Wendy is a master strategist and leader with deep knowledge of the development and executive of digital strategies to innovate and strategically transform organizations through technology.

Wendy helps organizations of all sizes accelerate with confidence and transform their business through the use of data and technology. Her services include digital technology strategy and planning, digital innovation leadership, data governance and information management and enterprise strategic management.

Wendy works with the provincial government (including departments, ministers, Crown corporations and government agencies), municipal government (medium-to-large Canadian municipalities) and not-for-profit and charitable organizations.

Prior to joining MNP, Wendy served as chief information officer in municipal government and vice-president at a Big Four firm.

Wendy earned a Bachelor of Commerce (BComm) with Distinction from the University of Alberta. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), qualifying with Honours as a Chartered Accountant (CA) in 1991 and is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC).

Wendy is a board member of ABC Head Start Society and a Special Olympics Canada technology committee member.

Ratan Grewal, CPA, CGA, Assistant Director Budgets & Reporting, City of Burnaby

Ratan has over 18 years of experience in Finance, with the last 10 years focused in the public sector. During his time at the City of Burnaby he has been in a leadership role in transforming the operating and capital budgeting and reporting processes. He is also actively involved in Asset Management, Carbon Pricing and Housing initiatives. Outside of work, Ratan actively volunteers in his community, enjoys playing hockey and basketball.

James Hobson, First Vice-President, CFA, Portfolio Manager, Investment Advisor, CIBC Wood Gundy

CIBC Wood Gundy Chairman’s Council member – the highest honor bestowed upon the firm’s Investment Advisors.

James is a graduate of the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance. With over 10 years of experience at CIBC, James focuses on identifying major market themes, analyzing equity and fixed income securities, and monitoring client portfolios to ensure investment policy compliance. James is a CFA Charterholder and maintains memberships with the CFA Institute and Calgary CFA Society. James is a registered IIROC Portfolio Manager and oversees both transactional and discretionary portfolios for clients. Having completed the Derivatives Fundamentals & Options Licensing course, James is fully licensed for trading. Among the numerous charities he assists, James is long-time supporter and donor for Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta.


Tara Holowka, CPA, CGA  BCom, Manager of Finance, Comptroller, Winnipeg Police Service

With 20 years of Finance and Accounting experience working in a variety of industries from Hospitality, Insurance and Information Technology, Tara joined the WPS in November 2017 after a decade of working in Healthcare at the provincial level.  A highlight WPS has been providing leadership sessions to Divisional Commanders and staff in managing their budget. In the last three years, Tara has also been involved with the procurement and change management involved in implementing new programs for Alarm Permitting, Special (Paid) Duty and Point of Sale which have significantly improved financial and business processes. Tara is passionate about the CPA profession and has represented CPA Manitoba on a number of occasions as a round table host and various recruitment events in addition to being a current CPA Manitoba student mentor. She is also an Executive Member for the Canadian Police Finance Professional Group, a sub-committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

Jill Inget, Director of Corporate Ethics, BC Public Service Agency

Jill is the Director of Corporate Ethics with the BC Public Service Agency. Jill holds a Master of Public Administration (University of Manitoba) and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction (University of Victoria). In her role, Jill is responsible for developing ethics-related resources and training for the BC Public Service. She also orients, trains and supports government executives who are appointed as ministry ethics advisors. Jill developed the first ever Ethics in the BC Public Service report published in June 2021, which outlined initiatives and measures used to assess the corporate ethics program.

Trina Innes, Executive Director of Sustainability Services, AUMA

Trina Innes leads a portfolio of clean energy and climate adaptation initiatives through the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre and Clean Energy Improvement Program. Prior to transitioning into climate change, she was the Chief Sustainability Officer at the University of Alberta. Trina holds two Masters degrees and several post-graduate certificates covering forestry, energy management, and business. She is a certified community energy manager, change manager, climate change officer and corporate director.


Roy Johnson, Co-Author of the top-selling “Turning Conflict into Profit” and a founder and Principal of The Neutral Zone Coaching and Consulting Services Inc.

Roy is an arbitrator, mediator, facilitator, investigator and trainer who works with communities, families, and public and private-sector organizations. He is a national conference speaker on topics including communication, organizational change, leadership, teamwork and workplace bullying. For over 20 years, Roy has mediated and resolved disputes ranging from interpersonal complaints to complex multi-issue conflicts. In keynotes he presents insights gleaned from years of work in the trenches, and balances this with humour and a passion for healing broken relationships.
Roy holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Alberta and an MA from Simon Fraser University. He also holds a post-graduate diploma in Adult Education from the University of BC along with a Certificate of Conflict Resolution from the Justice Institute of BC. Roy is ProSci® certified, and is ADRIC certified in alternative dispute resolution.
Roy has been a member of the Police Complaints Resolution Roster, a Governor of the Justice Institute of BC, a Panel Chair of the BC Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal, and a Director of the Board of Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of BC, and is currently involved in strata governance in Canada and the United States.

Kyle Kasawski, Director, Client Development – Energy Management, AUMA

Kyle Kasawski is the Director, Client Development – Energy Management at AUMA. He helps municipalities develop energy management projects and realize their environmental goals. Kyle has been a leader in the energy transition for 20 years and most recently was teaching Alternative Energy Business and Economics at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. He has worked on the design team of over 50 Net Zero homes and installed solar power systems on more than 400 net zero ready buildings. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Human Geography from the University of Alberta.

Stefan Krzeczunowicz, Associate Partner, Hemson

Stefan is an accomplished land economist with 17 years’ experience in municipal finance, growth management, forecasting, and adjudication in the public and private sectors. He has directed large multi-disciplinary consulting teams and led discussions on matters of public policy for a wide range of audiences: technical groups, municipal councils, litigation hearings, and public meetings. He also served on Ontario’s Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (formally the Ontario Municipal Board) where he adjudicated more than 70 appeals of planning and municipal finance matters.

Stefan is the current President of the Association of Ontario Land Economists and a member of the Simcoe Chapter of Lambda Alpha International, an honorary land economics society. He has undertaken studies for municipalities large and small across Ontario as well as in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, and Newfoundland.

Joanne Loberg, BA, CMP, CEC, Career Strategist / Certified Executive Coach

Joanne Loberg is a sought-after Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional with more than 20 years’ experience in leadership and career coaching.  Joanne has been referred to as “an absolute expert at navigating the complex territory of career advancement”.  She is skilled in supporting her clients to envision, strategize, and accelerate their career success.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), Executive Coaching Certification (Royal Roads University), Certified Career Management Practitioner, and is MBTI Qualified. She is a member of the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of BC & Yukon and the Association of Career Professionals International.

Paul Martin, CPA, Comptroller, Province of New Brunswick

At the Government of New Brunswick, Paul has oversight for accounting, financial systems, internal audit, enterprise risk management and consulting.  Prior to joining the government, he was a Partner with the national accounting firm of Grant Thornton LLP.  He has significant expertise with Public Sector Accounting Standards and pension plans including shared risk / targeted benefit models. He is a Board member for the New Brunswick Public Service Pension Plan and the New Brunswick Teachers Pension Plan.  Paul is a past president of the New Brunswick Institute of Chartered Accountants and currently serves as a member of the CPA Public Sector Accounting Discussion Group and the Employment Benefit Project Advisory Panel.

Alex Metcalfe, Head of Public Sector, ACCA

Alex Metcalfe is the head of public sector at ACCA. He leads ACCA’s global public sector approach and oversees its public sector research and thought leadership. Alex represents ACCA with key contacts in the public sector, including policymakers within government and international organisations, to share good practices and insights in public financial management and to work together in the public interest.

Prior to ACCA, he has worked across central, provincial and local government in the UK and Canadian civil service, including as a senior economist – specialising in tax policy – at the Ontario Ministry of Finance. He has published material across a breadth of public sector topics, including: infrastructure finance, employment law, fiscal policy, immigration and skills, and adult social care.

Alex is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), member of Accountancy Europe’s public sector group and the Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants’ (CAPA) public sector committee, and on the editorial board for the academic book series Public Service Accounting and Accountability.

He studied at Oxford, Cambridge and Queen’s universities.

Darryl Parker, Manager of RPA and Accounting Automation Services, F.H. Black & Company Incorporated

For over 13 years Darryl has provided technical consultation and training to hundreds of finance departments across North America. As a computer programmer and a designated CPA he is uniquely qualified to identify inefficiencies in business process and apply technological resolutions.

Catherine Parsons, Planner, City Planning Strategies, City of Mississauga

Catherine Parsons is a Planner in the City Planning Strategies Division of the Planning and Building Department at the City of Mississauga.  Her work at the City focuses on implementation of key action items stemming from the City’s Making Room for the Middle Housing Strategy (2017).  Prior to Catherine joining Mississauga, Catherine worked as a Planner at the City of Hamilton.  Catherine has obtained a Master’s degree in Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University, a Diploma in Sustainable Community Development from Simon Fraser University, and a Bachelor of Science Kinesiology from McMaster University. 

Lauren Pennycook, CPA, CA, Principal, Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB)

Lauren is currently working on PSAB’s efforts to develop a new strategic plan.

Carlie Persson, Partner, Risk Assurance, National Public Sector Assurance Leader, PwC

Carlie leads the Edmonton risk assurance practice and is our National Public Sector Assurance Leader and is part of PwC’s National Municipal Sector team. She has over 20 years of experience and brings her extensive leadership experience in providing risk management services and advice to her clients.  Carlie understands the unique challenges facing the sector when it comes to emerging risks.

Jude Pillainayagam, MBA, P. Eng., FEC, MIAM

Jude Pillainayagam is a senior engineer in municipal engineering sector and a Fellow of Engineers Canada. He is involved in Asset Management for nearly 20 years working at Metro Vancouver, City of Surrey and City of Coquitlam.

Jude possesses a diverse educational background and experience.  He is also an accountant and a certified Information System Professional.  He is a member of the Institute of Asset Management UK (IAM), and the Regional Director of Canadian Network of Asset Managers (CNAM) for BC and Alberta. Jude has carried out extensive work in the area of asset management and presented in many conferences.  

Tood pugh

Nick Poulias, MBA, Investment Advisor, CIBC Wood Gundy

Nick graduated from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) and also has an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University. With over 5 years of Capital Markets sales and trading experience, Nick focuses on designing custom investment strategies for clients in the public and not-for-profit sector as well as for high-net worth families. Nick, his wife and their four young children are Burlington residents. He devotes time to causes focusing on the well-being of children and families within the Halton Region community.

Tood pugh

Todd Pugh, Executive Director, CivicInfo BC & Instructor, School of Public Administration, Capilano University

Todd Pugh started his local government career in 1994, as a professional weed-whacker in the Parks Department of a regional district in BC’s Lower Mainland. Twenty-seven years later, Todd is the Executive Director of CivicInfo BC, a Victoria-based not-for-profit information and data service.

At CivicInfo BC, Todd has helped to develop many innovative services including the country’s largest local government job boards, an online municipal statistics service, and the first province-wide municipal election results reporting system in Canada. 

Since 2007 he has also been an instructor in the School of Public Administration at Capilano University, where he teaches several courses in the school’s Local Government Program.

When he’s not working or driving his two kids somewhere, Todd’s hobbies include playing recreational hockey, recovering from the injuries that recreational hockey inflicts upon him, and firing-up a weed-whacker on weekends.

James Richardson, MBA, Partner, Consulting Services, Alberta Public Sector Consulting Leader, MNP

James Richardson, MBA, is MNP’s Alberta Public Sector Consulting Leader and a Partner in the firm’s Consulting practice. Drawing on over two decades of experience, James serves public and private sector clients both locally and nationally.

James has extensive experience in the design, review, improvement and evaluation of programs, projects and services. This has included the design and launch of new organizations as well as assisting his clients with the development and delivery of new and or improved service offerings. His career has afforded him the opportunity to work effectively with all orders of government, the Not-for-Profit sector as well as the private sector in a variety of challenging settings. With deep knowledge and experience in large organizations in both the public and private sector, James develops practical solutions and delivers results for his clients. His cross-industry expertise includes all orders of government, post-secondary institutions, healthcare, transportation, housing, infrastructure, manufacturing, Not-for-Profit organizations and private enterprises. The scope and breadth of James’ experience enables him to bring innovative and practical solutions to the complex problems that his clients face.

James obtained his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales (Cardiff) in 2011 with a focus on strategy, change management and risk management.

He is a director with Kids With Cancer Society.


Sharhonda Rush, Senior Strategic Innovation Manager, BlackLine

Sharhonda Rush is a Senior Strategic Innovation Manager at BlackLine and has over 25 years of private, government and public sector experience in Finance and Accounting ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Sharhonda is an innovator and change agent for operational efficiency and organizational excellence. She was instrumental in implementing an award winning ERP system for one of the largest transit agencies in the State of Florida. As a CPA, she has successfully leveraged technology to transform and streamline processes, improve visibility and reduce the closing cycle by more than 50%. As a hands-on, experienced professional, she is a life-long learner and understands Finance & Accounting challenges and enjoys sharing leading technology and automation practices. 


Lorrie Schmallenberg, Manager, Public Accounting & Reporting, City of Regina

Lorrie has been working in the public sector for about 25 years and believes government finance officers play a crucial role in providing trust, credibility and transparency to our stakeholders through excellence in budgeting, reporting, financial management and through the assurance/audit functions. She has been with the board of GFOA of Western Canada, now CAGFO, since 2010. She has been on the Public Financial Management Advisory Committee and is currently vice-chair of the Public Sector Accounting Discussion Group. With the upcoming changes and opportunities related to emerging PSAS and issues, she facilitates a committee to discuss these issues and to encourage members to have a voice in the future of the industry.

Ian Schnoor, Principal and Founder, The Marquee Group

The Marquee Group is a leading provider of financial modeling training to professionals in the financial community. Ian has built The Marquee Group into a leading provider of financial modeling training and consulting.

Ian is also the Executive Director of the Financial Modeling Institute (FMI). In this role, he works closely with the FMI team on the creation and execution of the FMI’s strategy.

Over the years, Ian has taught thousands of business professionals and university students in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Mexico. Ian is passionate about teaching and brings a hands-on, interactive approach to every course.

Ian teaches at Queen’s University and is a past recipient of the “Instructor of the Year” award in the Master of Finance program at the Smith School of Business.

Prior to establishing The Marquee Group, Ian spent a number of years in the Investment Banking departments at Citigroup and BMO Capital Markets. Ian completed a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree with academic distinction and has also attained the CFA designation.

Thaksa Sethukavalan, MFin, CPA, CA, Principal, Public Sector Accounting Board

Thaksa is a principal with the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB). She works to support the development of public sector accounting standards across Canada and has primarily focused on PSAB’s International Strategy Project.

Thaksa has over 10 years of experience auditing and advising public sector and not-for-profit organizations, conducting both accounting advisory and finance transformation work.

Thaksa holds a Master of Finance from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business at York University. She is a CPA, CA.

Venkat Somasundaram, Director, Consulting and Deals, Lead – Digital Operations for Public Sector

Venkat has 15+ years of experience managing and delivering transformational engagements primarily in Alberta and within the public and private sector. He has focused on the Public sector (Crown Corporations, Municipalities and governments), as well as various private sector industries. Venkat has worked closely with the public sector clients including the Government of Alberta, City of Edmonton and crown corporations.

Mitch Stevenson, CPA, CA, Financial Reporting Supervisor, City of Lethbridge

Mitch is responsible for financial and accounting issues and all internal and external financial reporting at the City of Lethbridge. Prior to joining the City of Lethbridge, he was an audit manager with KPMG LLP and a tax auditor for the Canada Revenue Agency. The City of Lethbridge uses CaseWare extensively and he is responsible for the maintenance and development of financial reporting. He and his team use CaseWare in forecasting variances in City operations, grant reporting, budgeting, and in the preparation of their financial statements for the annual report. 

Owen Taylor, Partner, National Public Sector Leader, PwC

Owen brings over 30 years of experience working collaboratively and at all client levels with a wide variety of organizations, primarily in the public sector. His greatest achievements include helping organizations achieve their highest priority initiatives, transforming key areas of their business through change management, process improvement and technology enablement.

Anand Trivedi, ASA, MRICS, Director, Duff & Phelps, a Kroll company (Toronto)

Mr. Trivedi specializes in providing valuations of industrial facilities. He has in excess of 20 years of valuation experience. He provides advisory for the purposes financial reporting, allocation of purchase price, due diligence, fresh start accounting, disputes, litigation, liquidation, insurance, financing, tax and creating fixed assets property records. He works as Project Manager on many large, multidiscipline assignments.

Mr. Trivedi has appraised all types of tangible assets, including a wide range of manufacturing plants, mining, power generation plants, food processing plants, steel mills, electronic circuits, oil and gas plants, pulp and paper plants, dairy, brewing and bottling plants, and chemical plants.

Mr. Trivedi has performed valuation throughout in Barbados, Belgium, Canada, Central Asia, Cuba, Costa Rica, Dominica, France, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, the Bahamas, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Sardar Patel University, Gujarat, India – Master of Valuation (Real Estate)

Sardar Patel University, Gujarat, India – Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical)

American Society of Appraisers – Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA), Machinery & Technical Specialties/Machinery & Equipment

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – Professional Member (MRICS)


Diana Vissers, BA, MA (Disability Management), CVRP(D), Founder Work to Wellness – Workplace Mental Health Consultant

Diana Vissers, founder of Work to Wellness, is a passionate and effective workplace mental health thought leader.  She has been solving workplace mental health problems for more than 25 years.  Her diverse experience includes working in the private and public sectors, with Workers’ Compensation Boards, private disability insurance companies, employers, unions, and community based mental health agencies.  After completing her Master’s degree in Disability Management, she has gone on to inspire many employers and employees to build workplaces where people are engaged, healthy and productive.   She is known for her engaging, interactive workshops and her ability to simplify how we can better manage our own and other’s mental health at work.  Diana serves on the national advisory committee for Work Wellness Institute and designs and delivers psychological safety and return to work courses in the Occupational Health and Safety and Rehab and Disability Management programs at Simon Fraser University. She is a Canadian Mental Health Association certified Psychological Health & Safety Advisor and conducts research and support in the first responder community in British Columbia. 

As you will see, Diana’s enthusiasm for workplace health is contagious.


Earl Warwick, CPA, CMA, CTAJ, Director of Finance and Asset Management, Saskatoon Police Service

Earl is the Director of Finance and Asset Management at the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS).  Trained and developed as a professional accountant, he has been involved in organizations in such diverse capacities as: auditor; business manager; salesperson; General Manager; self-employed professional contractor; governance and leadership; Chair of a Board of Directors; dispute adjudication; and, most recently, financial, procurement and asset management leader at the SPS.  A highlight has been leading and supporting the procurement of the SPS aircraft that provided outstanding operational and financial benefit to the citizens of Saskatoon.

Sue Wazny, MSc, Dip. Leadership, CRC

Sue has been an adult educator with numerous government agencies, educational institutions, social organizations and the private sector for over 25 years in the areas of Conflict Management, Communication Skills, Dealing with Anger, Management Skills, Team Building and Leadership. For the past 22 years, Sue has been a faculty member at the Justice Institute of BC in the Centre for Conflict Resolution, where she teaches a variety of courses.  Sue maintains a clinical practice which includes workplace mediation, team assessments and facilitations, performance coaching, critical incident stress debriefing and workplace harassment investigations. She holds a Master’s of Science degree in Psychology, certificates in Conflict Resolution and Mediation from the Justice Institute, and is a certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator practitioner.

Jason Haughn, Advisor, Municipal Affairs, Nova Scotia

Nick Barr, Director, Municipal Affairs, Nova Scotia

Marilynn Hay, Advisor, Municipal Affairs, Nova Scotia

Ross MacDonald, Advisor, Municipal Affairs, Nova Scotia

The Governance and Advisory team within the Nova Scotia Department of Municipal Affairs act as liaisons between municipal officials and the Province of Nova Scotia. Although we are provincial civil servants, we often work at the nexus of the elected-bureaucratic dichotomy in municipalities in Nova Scotia. We provide education, training and support to Councils and to municipal staff across the province. We each bring a complementary set of skills, backgrounds, and experiences to the team which allow us to provide expertise and support across a wide range of issues, both within the provincial government and for our municipal clients. Currently, the team consists of: Nick Barr, Director; Marilynn Hay, Ross MacDonald, and Jason Haughn, Advisors.