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

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.

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.


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.


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.

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.

Karine Benzacar, Managing Director, Knowledge Plus Corp. and Professor, Smith School of Business, Queens University

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).

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.

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)


Rachel Bleetman, Public Sector Research and Policy Manager, ACCA

Rachel Bleetman is a Research and Policy Manager at ACCA, focusing on issues relevant to the public sector globally. She develops and advises on a range of thought leadership initiatives while working to promote important diversity and inclusion goals in public sector finance research and policy.

She previously worked as a health and social policy analyst at The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and in the UK Civil Service – engaging with a range of different policy areas. She studied at McGill University and the London School of Economics and spent a year working and studying in the Middle East.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.