The leaders consist of successful individuals ranging from various backgrounds that include finance, real estate, consulting, engineer, law and medicine among others fields. The leaders are responsible for sharing their experience with the attendees and inspiring the young professionals attending Déjeun’aide.
Gaby Abou Merhi is a Vice-President in the Corporate Finance practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), where he focuses on assisting Canadian entrepreneurs in their Mergers, Acquisitions, Divestitures and Financing initiatives.
Gaby has been working in M&A for over 8 years, having completed 20 transactions totalling over $1.5B in Enterprise Value. Prior to working at PwC, Gaby has spent 5 years at Telus and Deloitte.
Gaby has completed his Bcom in Finance and Accounting at McGill University (2012), where he graduated with High Distinction,
In his free time, you can find Gaby at one of the many soccer fields in Montreal, or volunteering his time coaching McGill’s case competition teams
Dr. Burstein obtained his medical degree from McGill University (2010), graduating from the combined M.D/Ph.D program with a doctorate from the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics (2008).
He completed both his residency training in General Pediatrics (2013) and his fellowship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine (2015) at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Burstein completed a MPH degree from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and was appointed as a Clinician-Scientist of the McGill University Health Centre Research Institute in 2018.
His primary research interest is the management of fever in infants below 3 months of life. Fever remains among the most common reasons for presentation and hospitalization in this vulnerable population at elevated risk of lifethreatening infections.
Dr. Burstein’s research focuses on diagnostic testing and clinical decision tools to guide management of these infants, with the aim of balancing the risk of underdiagnosis and the potential harms of over-investigation.
Chief Executive Officer
Siemens Mobility Limited
Yves Desjardins-Siciliano is the president and CEO for Siemens Mobility in Canada, a company which has been providing transportation solutions to Canada for more than 40 years, including light rail vehicles to Edmonton, Calgary and most recently, an order for trainsets to VIA Rail. The company has also provided successful electrification for light rail systems in Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa.
Desjardins-Siciliano has held several positions at IBM Canada, the Government of Canada (Ministry of Labour & Transport) and Bell Mobility. He is the former President and CEO of VIA Rail Canada, the country’s national intercity passenger service operator. Desjardins-Siciliano graduated from the Université de Montréal in 1979 with a Law Degree (LL.L) and completed his graduate studies in Air & Space Law at McGill University in 1980.
Chief Executive Officer
BeaverTails Canada inc.
Pino Di Ioia (McGill MBA ’93) was 11 when he started his first venture; selling soft drinks and salvaged golf balls at a neighborhood course. At the age of 19, his passion for entrepreneurialism landed him a position as manager with BeaverTails Pastry (www.beavertails.com).
Shortly afterwards, while completing his MBA, Pino bought the store he was managing as the chain’s first franchise. Pino and his twin brother Anthony eventually went on to become the first Master Franchisees for the company, opening a total of 48 stores within the province of Quebec. In 2009 they bought out the majority of the company from the founder and are now overseeing worldwide growth. Pino is CEO and co-owner for BeaverTails Canada inc., franchisor of 175+ shops throughout Canada in the US, UAE, Mexico, and France. Along with his wife and twin brother he has also launched moozoo creamery (www.moozoo.com).
Pino lives in Montreal with his wife Tina, and their three adopted children: daughter Lucca and their sons Kai and Max… as well as their dog Milo. Work continues to be an adventure between fun walks and lots of cooking experiments with the kids…
Partner – Sustainable Finance Leader
Jean-François Gagnon is a Partner in the Consulting Services practice of Ernst & Young LLP with more than 20 years of experience in financial and strategic consulting. Prior to that Jean-François was a partner and co-founder of Pivot where he led various projects involving strategic positioning, organizational diagnosis, operations and risk management reviews for various types of financial services companies.
During his career he has worked in various business sectors including insurance, real estate, asset management, credit cards, banking, prepayments and mortgage-insurance for financial institutions in Canada, the United States and Europe.
Prior to launching Pivot, Jean-François was with Oliver Wyman where he worked in the Organizational Transformation and the Financial Services practice. While at Oliver Wyman, Jean-François worked with various financial institutions on topics of strategy, organizational restructuring, business model design, performance management (definition of metrics and objectives) as well as top team alignment.
Chief Strategy Officer and Partner
Elana is Chief Strategy Officer and Partner at Sid Lee where she works with teams across the network to create meaningful and valuable experiences that people care to talk about and spend time in.
Elana began her career in management consulting, ran a branding and digital agency, and headed up strategy for a number of international agencies. Her work over the last 19+ years is focused on unlocking insights and leverage points that create unique moments of truth and experiences for brands across virtually every category. These experiences are anchored in every discipline spanning retail, architecture, product development, digital, branded content, branding, and advertising.
Elana develops and teaches a particular kind of strategy that creatively blends cultural anthropology with business and innovation strategy to solve business problems. In her spare time, Elana steers boards of start-ups and volunteers on boards that have a human rights and higher education focus.
Chief Financial Officer
Anne Marie is a CPA CA with more than 20 years of experience currently serving as Chief financial officer for Imagia, an Artificial intelligence healthcare company. Before joining Imagia, she held various executive roles for life science or pharmaceutical companies at the national and international level. Anne Marie also held positions at PwC and KPMG for several years. Anne Marie is an active board member of two philanthropic organizations benefiting children.
Regional Vice President, Eastern Canada
In 2001, Eric Hallé joined Dynamic Funds, where he progressed through roles with increased responsibilities within the Sales team. Over the last 12 years, Eric has held the leadership role of Regional Vice President for Eastern Canada.
Before joining Dynamic, he worked at a major Canadian Bank and a Global Insurance Company. With over 20 years of industry experience, Eric leads his team by leveraging his excellent insights and knowledge of capital markets, distribution and a rapidly changing advisor/dealer landscape. Nominated as a member on CFIQ’s Board of Governors in 2017, Eric is currently the President of the CFIQ Board of Governors. He also sits on IFIC’s Board of Directors.
Eric holds a Bachelor in Finance from HEC Montréal and holds the Chartered Investment Manager (CIM®) designation.
Regional Managing Partner, Province of Québec
Benoit Lacoste Bienvenue is the Managing Partner – Province of Québec. In this capacity, he leads KPMG’s growth strategy in Québec.
KPMG has more than 1,450 professionals in Québec spread over 6 offices and offers audit, tax, management consulting, risk management services including an expanded offering in cybersecurity and data lifecycle management. Benoit has over 20 years of experience in mergers and acquisitions, including complex cross-border structuring, financing and corporate restructuring transactions. He also acts as a strategic advisor to several major Canadian corporations, both private and public, on their structure and strategy.
Benoit holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Law and a Bachelor’s degree in Common Law from McGill University and is a member of the Québec Bar. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Desautels Faculty of Management of McGill University and sits on the boards of Justice Pro Bono and the Eulalie-Durocher Foundation.
Director, Global Health and Social Impact, Developed Markets
Vincent Lamoureux joined Pfizer Canada in January 2011 as Director, Corporate Communications.
He currently holds the position of Director, Global Health and Social Impact, Developed Markets. Vincent is responsible for Corporate Responsibility, including Philanthropy and Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy for Canada. He also leads a team of professionals responsible for corporate responsibility programs in other developed markets in Europe and Asia.
Prior to this appointment, he was Director, Corporate Communications, leading the Enterprise Communications function within the Corporate Affairs Team, which manages media relations, social media, corporate reputation, philanthropy, colleague communications, linguistic services and wellness. Prior to this appointment, he led the Corporate Affairs Business Unit/Brand team responsible for brand communication programs.
Vincent is a bilingual communications strategist with over 30 years of communications experience in the life sciences sector. He has extensive experience in brand PR, issues management, colleague communications and media relations. Before joining Pfizer, Vincent was Director, Public Affairs, at Merck where he led the company’s communications programs. He also held communications roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Noranda.
Vincent received an MBA specialized in Marketing from l’École des Haute Études Commerciales (HEC) in Montréal and a BA in Communications Studies from Concordia University. He is also a passionate photographer and is a member of the Board of Directors of West-Island Community Shares (WICS).
CEO and Co-founder
Frédéric is the CEO and co-founder of Immune Biosolutions, a biotech company focusing on the fast discovery and engineering of next-generation biologics through its proprietary chicken antibody discovery platform. Winner of the 2013 National Grand Prize of the Québec Entrepreneurship Contest, Fred received several innovation prizes and entrepreneurship awards, including the Spin Master/Futurpreneur innovation and growth awards, Devtech Bio contests (2013, 2016, 2017) and several others.
Frédéric is an active member of the Canadian life science (board of BioQuébec, co-organizer of the Sweet Pharma Day 2019) and entrepreneurial communities.
Frédéric holds a B.Sc. in Biotechnology from UQAM, a M.Sc. in Ecotoxicology from McGill University and a
Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Université de Sherbrooke.
Intact Investment Management
Florian Piermattei is an Assistant Portfolio Manager in the Asset Allocation team at Intact Investment Management Inc (“Intact”). The parent company, Intact Financial Corporation, is the largest provider of property and casualty (P&C) insurance in Canada, a leading provider of global specialty insurance, and, with RSA, a leader in the U.K. and Ireland.
Florian started at Intact 3 years ago, he works with the Investment team to determine long term allocation targets for the Intact Investment Portfolio. Also, he plays a key role in selecting external managers to build a private investment portfolio.
Since September 2021, Florian is a lecturer at HEC Montréal, where he teaches a course on Trading for the Bachelor of Business Administration (“BBA”) students.
During the last 4 years, Florian has been a board member at Camp de Santé de Saint-Hyacinthe foundation. The foundation’s goal is to provide disadvantaged children the opportunity to go on vacation during the summertime. As a volunteer, he has been involved twice as a mentor in the CFA Institute Research Challenge competitions.
Florian began his career as an Investment Analyst for Capital Benoit, a family office in Montréal. He was involved in asset allocation as well as private and public investments for the family’s members.
Florian holds a BBA and a M.Sc. in Finance from HEC Montréal as well as CFA and CAIA designations.
Profile to come.
Vice-President Quebec, Private Wealth Management
IG Wealth Management
Nicholas Shields began his professional career as an advisor at Investors Group in 2002 in London, Ontario. He was promoted to Division Director in 2005. During that time, Nicholas qualified for a Pillar Award and was a member of the Ontario Division Director Advisory Council.
In 2007, Nicholas accepted the Regional Director role in the Québec Rive-Sud office, where he stayed from October 2007 to July 2011.
In August 2011 he moved to Montreal to focus on the growth and success of the Montreal Decarie region office. Nicholas’ focus on creating a culture of efficiency and positivity in the region office led to several awards, including the Region Builder Award, Regional Director Special Merit Award, several Master Director Awards and a place on the Executive Advisory Council.
Nicholas has been appointed Vice-President PWM, Quebec, on November 1st, 2017.
Nicholas graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2003 with a BA in Economics, and has completed his Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Université Laval. He has his Pl.Fin and CLU designations.
Executive Vice-President, Distribution Strategy and Personal Banking Solutions
As Senior Vice President Distribution Strategy and Personal Banking Solutions, Lisa Swiderski is responsible for establishing and implementing business strategies for the Personal Banking sector for all distribution channels. Her responsibilities also include retail banking product and credit risk management as well as operational and compliance risk for both retail and commercial sectors. She is also responsible for overseeing a portfolio of projects of more than $150M. She is currently a board member of Interac, Director of the Audit Committee and Chair of their Human Ressources Committee. She is also a member of the Canadian Advisory Board of Mastercard. She has also been a member of Board of Directors of National Bank Financial, the Boards of Directors of Natcan Trust Company and National Bank Independent Network for several years.
In addition to her professional activities, Mrs. Swiderski has been involved throughout her career in various organizations. She was director and treasurer of Théâtre Denise-Pelletier as well as Co-President of the theatrical benefit evenings from 2014 to 2016. She has also been director and treasurer of the Francois-Michelle Foundation. She is currently director of the Food Banks of Quebec and since September 2017, chair of their Ethics Committee. In 2021 Lisa Swiderski became chair of the Infrastructure Committee of Food Banks of Quebec. She is also a director at Foundation Du Berthiaume Tremblay and chair of their Audit Committee, a foundation dedicated to the well-being of the elderly. Finally, she is also involved in various mentoring programs for young professionals.
She has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry and has held various positions that have allowed her to develop a proven experience in different sectors in transformation. Lisa Swiderski holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Business Administration from École des Hautes Études Commerciales. She also holds the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) designation.
Vice-President, Risk, Equity Markets and Transactional Analysis
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
Dominique Vézina has been active in the world of finance for over 25 years. She started out her career as an actuarial analyst in 1995 with the insurance company Industrial Alliance. Soon thereafter, she shifted to a position in trading and portfolio management at the same institution. In 2008, she was promoted Director, General Fund Portfolio Management.
In 2011, she joined the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec as Vice-President, Risk Management, Fixed Income and Active Overlay Strategies. Her various duties included portfolio monitoring and construction, transactional analysis and investment committees. On a daily basis, she was responsible for advancing the risk culture on the portfolio management and risk teams. In November 2016, she accepted a new challenge, still in the risk division, as Advisor and Vice-President, Risk Management, Stock Markets. In June 2018, she took on further duties as the manager of the Transactional Risk team.
Dominique holds a degree in Actuarial Science from Université Laval in Quebec City. She earned her title of CFA in 2000. She also holds an International Executive MBA in Financial Services, Insurance and Investment from Vlerick Business School in Belgium, the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and HEC de l’Université de Montréal. In 2010, she earned the Toastmasters titles of Competent Communicator and Competent Manager.
She has served on various boards of directors over the course of her career, including those of CFA Québec for six years. She is Vice-President of the Association des MBA du Québec. From 2014 to 2019, Dominique has been a mentor under the Mentoring Program of the Association des femmes en finance. She views the program as an inspiring model enabling both mentors and mentees to share information on their experiences in a context that helps them develop to their full potential. In 2020, she offered her services as a mentor for the mentoring program of the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association (PRMIA). She has also been a judge in various competitions, including the McGill International Portfolio Challenge and the CFA Institute Research Challenge.
Last but not least, she is a representative of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec to the Advancement Board of Université Laval’s Faculty of Business Administration.
President & Chief Vision Officer
Natalie Voland has been reinventing the process of real estate development over 25 years. Her roots as a social worker allow her to have a unique and purpose driven design centered outlook on development that prioritizes historical protection of civic assets while being forward thinking to use buildings to unite communities and push environmental advocacy.
She is an award winning, social driven developer and a leader of the Quebec B Corp. Movement where her companies contribute to the protection of the environment, foster social inclusion, while making market driven profit to further the economic development of Montreal. Natalie manages 1.5 million square feet, supports over 500 entrepreneurs, and is an active expert and public speaker, and mentor.
Natalie sits on several Boards including the Quartier Innovation, the Fonds Climat de Grand Montréal, the Partenariat (Mayor Valerie Plante’s initiative for carbon reduction by 2030) and the Heritage Committee for her beloved City. Natalie is an active master planner, and partners with universities to use her assets as teaching and prototype tools to evolve concepts on what kind of city we want to build as citizens and corporate leaders. Natalie is a PHD candidate and member of the Concordia Chair of Excellence in Research on Smart and Resilient Cities and the Next Generation Cities Institute specializing in the bridge of market business practices that drive sustainability on the built environment. Natalie has been named for the 2021 Clean50 awards for her contribution in Clean Capitalism in the Buildings category.