Hélène Desmarais, holder of a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance from HEC Montréal, is president and chief executive officer of the Centre d’Entreprises et d’Innovation de Montréal, Canada’s largest incubator of technology companies. Ms. Desmarais chairs several other boards, including those of the Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain, HEC Montréal, the Société de développement économique Ville-Marie and the Société d’investissement jeunesse. She also heads the advisory boards of the faculty of medicine of the University of Montreal and of the Conference of Montreal.
Jean Bernier sits on the Board of Directors of Circle K. Until December 2017, he was Group President Fuel Americas and Operations North-East at Couche-Tard. Prior to joining Couche-Tard, Mr. Bernier was Executive Vice President of Valero Energy Corporation as well as President of Ultramar Ltd., the Canadian subsidiary of Valero where he was responsible for Valero’s retail operations as well as corporate functions of communications, supply chain management and information services. From 1996 to 2011, Mr. Bernier held various senior management roles with Ultramar Ltd, including Vice-President–Retail Operations in 1998-1999 and President since 1999. Prior to joining Ultramar Ltd, Mr. Bernier served for nine years in a variety of senior management positions at Provigo, Inc. and has previously held President, Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer level positions. Mr. Bernier holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial Relations from the University of Waterloo, Ontario as well as a Bachelor’s Degree from the Université de Montréal.
Stephan Crétier, MBA, is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Garda World Security Corporation. Garda provides a full range of security services including armored transportation of currency and valuables, protection of persons and premises, and electronic security solutions. The company also conducts special investigations.
Nicola is a partner with the law firm BCF. As a recognized leader who is admired by everyone, he is considered one of Quebec’s leading specialists in the field of labour and employment law, as well as human rights law and administrative law. A member of the Bar since 1983, he has been a partner of major national firms and has taught at several Quebec universities, namely with Faculties of Law, Faculties of Management, and the Barreau du Québec. Having received the Advocatus Emeritus (Ad.E.) distinction from the Quebec Bar, he has co-authored two major works about labour standards, and has contributed to several research papers and given various conferences on complex timely subjects.
Nicola is very involved in his community. Among other things, he founded the Cool Taxi organization in 2010 and spearheaded the National Impaired Driving Prevention Week, which was adopted by the House of Commons, with the first week taking place from March 18-24, 2018. He was elected to the House of Commons in 2015, and served on the Standing Committee on National Security. A graduate of Université de Sherbrooke and Columbia University, Nicola has received numerous distinctions from his peers and has been listed in the country’s most prestigious legal directories on several occasions.
Jacques L. Drouin has more than 25 years of experience in corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions, and executive positions. After 15 years working for BMO Nesbitt Burns, KPMG Corporate Finance, and Deloitte Corporate Finance as an expert in private and public financings and M&A transactions, Mr. Drouin became the CFO and eventually the CEO of one of the largest upstream O&G process equipment providers in the world, trading on the TSX, with offices in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. At Keira Capital, Mr. Drouin, as Co-President, covers the energy and industrial sectors for both financing and M&A transactions. In 2009, he was honoured as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40™ and received an “Oilweek Magazine Rising Stars” award.
Nathalie Elgrably-Lévy has taught economics at HEC Montréal since 1992. She also taught economics for several years at the University of Montreal and at UQAM. She is the author of La face cachée des politiques publiques, published in 2006 by Les Éditions Logiques, and she produced a Quebec adaptation of the 6th edition of Microeconomics, by Pyndick and Rubinfeld. Nathalie Elgrably-Lévy is also a columnist with Le Journal de Montréal and Le Journal de Québec. She worked during part of 2008 as a senior economist with the Fraser Institute. She holds a master’s degree in management from HEC Montréal, with a specialization in applied economics and a thesis on the federal budget deficit. Her research interests focus on assessing public policy.
Anne Fortier is a New York Times-bestselling author and filmmaker who immigrated to Canada in 2009 and currently lives in Quebec’s Eastern Townships with her family. She was born and educated in Denmark and holds an MA in Communication as well as a PhD in History of Ideas from Aarhus University. Over the years, Anne has studied and worked in many countries, including France, Great Britain, and the US where she co-produced the Emmy-winning documentary Fire and Ice: The Winter War of Finland and Russia. Her novels Juliet and The Lost Sisterhood have been translated extensively worldwide, and plans are afoot to turn both into multi-season TV-shows. Before moving to Canada, Anne worked as Program Officer for Film & Fiction at Institute for Humane Studies in Washington, and since becoming a professional author she has continued to coach other aspiring writers and filmmakers, both privately and through organizations such as Taliesin Nexus in Los Angeles. When she is not writing up a storm, Anne can be found happily loitering in various Eastern-Townships plant nurseries, or practising Kung Fu with her daughter, or poring over maps with her family as they plot their next back-country canoe trip.
Philip Infilise is the Chief Executive Officer of Quadra Chemicals and a member of its Executive Committee as well as CEO of Octium Solutions. He has been with Quadra since 2000 and was promoted to SBU Management, Mining in 2011 and became Business Manager for the newly created Mining Group in 2014. Philip Infilise is also a Board member and shareholder of Infilise Holdings Inc., a member of the Quadra Leadership Team, and has served on the Board of Hydro Technologies (Canada) Inc. since 2007.
Michel was one of the cofounders of the Amis de la Liberté (Friends of Liberty) in the mid-1990s, and helped relaunch the MEI as of 1997, notably thanks to his skills as a fundraiser. After having been head of the MEI from 1999 to 2006, Michel was president of the Quebec Employers Council from March 2006 to December 2008. Early in his career, he practised law and then became an entrepreneur in the field of specialized business training. He served on the executive committee of the board of directors of the Quebec Workers Compensation Board (CSST) from 2006 to 2009. He was one of six Quebecers honoured in Canada’s Top 40 Under 40™ 2008 awards. The winners were chosen from among 1,100 nominees.
Over the years, Mr. Kelly-Gagnon has served on several boards of directors, including that of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, which disburses several hundred million dollars a year in order to finance Canada’s scientific research infrastructure. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Atlas Network and a member of the board of directors of The John Dobson Foundation, which supports the teaching of entrepreneurial and free enterprise thinking to the general public. Michel is back at the helm of the MEI since January 2009. When he is at home, he loves petting his beloved Pablo (an adorable English Cocker Spaniel), drinking fine wine, and expanding his general knowledge.
A lover of liberty, he likes to declare, “We will triumph!” even if he sometimes doubts the veracity of this statement. Married for 24 years to a South American woman with panache, he is convinced that his son, an exceptionally mature teenager, will one day be the saviour of the free world. He constantly checks his emails while on vacation, a decades-long bad habit that he plans to stop “soon.”
Upon completion of a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of West Florida, Normand Lebeau joined Trans-Canada Glass Inc. as a Marketing Management trainee. In 1986, he left Trans-Canada and, along with another partner, founded what was to become one of the largest P.O.S. manufacturing firms in Canada. After successfully growing the business throughout Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, Mr. Lebeau sold his equity position in late 1996 to join Mandrake Groupe Conseil as the president of the company’s Montreal office. His accomplishments also include being named Quebec Young Businessman of the Year in 1989, serving as Executive Vice-President of the Montreal Young Chamber of Commerce in 1991 and volunteering for the Quebec Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society. Since 2008, Mr. Lebeau has been a mentor in the talent development program of the Young Chamber of Commerce of Montreal as well as for the Enablis foundation helping African entrepreneurs start a business in their home country. In 2011, he was awarded the prestigious trophy “Cross-border Assignment” at the IESF annual general meeting in Bangkok. An avid athlete, Mr. Lebeau was awarded a tennis scholarship in the NCAA after being ranked amongst the top junior singles players in Canada.
Guillaume is Partner, CFO at Diagram Ventures, a venture capital fund backed by Power Financial Corporation. Prior to Diagram, he was working in the United Kingdom in the investment banking division of HSBC in its Financial Institutions Group. Before that, Guillaume was based in Germany as part of Rocket Internet, the world’s largest incubator of technology start-ups, where he was CFO of a fintech portfolio company. He previously spent five years at PSP Investments, in Montreal, in its direct private equity group and in its internal hedge fund. Guillaume is a CFA, a CAIA, and holds a Masters in Finance from London Business School. He also sits on the board of directors of the Opéra de Montréal and the Mount Royal Club.
For the past 25 years, Mr. Meunier has been the President and CEO of Groupe Formatrad Inc., a firm specializing in customized on-the-job training. He studied law at the Université de Sherbrooke and economics at Bishop’s University. After his studies, Mr. Meunier prepared a course on the economic analysis of law, to be jointly taught at Université de Sherbrooke with Professor Michael Krauss, now at the George Mason University School of Law. Mr. Meunier was called to the Quebec Bar in 1985. He was Director of Legal Services at the Quebec Chamber of Commerce, and practised law at Byers Casgrain, which has since become Dentons. It is around this time, in 1987, that he joined a group of businessmen in order to co-found the Montreal Economic Institute. He translated into French for the Paris publisher Les Belles Lettres some of the core texts of Ayn Rand’s moral philosophy, a work which appeared in 1993 and was reissued in 2008. Mr. Meunier also holds a master’s degree in music from the Vincent d’Indy School of Music and the Juilliard School of Music in New York, and has taught music at the college level.
Caroline is an Investment Counsellor and Vice President at Burgundy Asset Management, where she manages portfolios for the firm’s private clients and foundations, and oversees the firm’s private wealth activities in the province of Quebec. Previously, Caroline was an Institutional Relationship Manager in the United States, with a special focus on university endowments and private foundations. Prior to joining Burgundy, Caroline was Director of Investor Relations and Marketing at Clairvest Group Inc., a private equity firm.Caroline holds an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree (Finance) from the University of Ottawa and an MBA (Investment Management) from Concordia University. She also completed a Certificate in Personal Financial Planning at HEC Montréal, and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Caroline is a member of the Women of Influence executive committee at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and of Anges Québec. She has completed the Not-for-Profit Program of the Institute of Corporate Directors.
François Morin has over 30 years of experience in management, marketing, and corporate and government communications. He was Director General, Operations and Public Affairs, Quebec and Atlantic, for BMO Financial Group, and has worked for several global companies, including IBM, National RP, BRP, and Bell Business Markets. Over the years, he has collaborated on numerous fundraising campaigns carried out by charitable organizations, and he currently sits on the board of directors of the YMCA Foundation.
Mr. Simard is President and Managing Member of Champlain Financial Corporation (Canada), based in Montreal, Canada and is a co-founder and Managing Director of Champlain Capital Management LLC in the U.S., a merchant banking firm with offices in San Francisco and Boston. Prior to co-founding Champlain Capital Management and founding Champlain Financial Corporation, Mr. Simard spent over fifteen years working in investment banking and corporate banking with Lazard Frères & Co., Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette, Lancaster Financial Corp and CIBC. Mr. Simard is currently on the Board of Directors of Genivar Inc. as well as on the Board of a number of private companies. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Miss Edgar’s & Miss Cramp’s School (ECS) in Westmount and of the Giant Steps School Foundation. Mr. Simard received a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Laval University, a Graduate Degree in Management from the Université Catholique de Louvain, and an MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University where he regularly teaches as a visiting executive.
Claude Thibault is Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Alithya Group. Mr. Thibault has more than twenty years of experience serving as CFO for a variety of companies, both private and publicly-traded, active in Canada and internationally. He has worked in a variety of sectors, including high-tech, manufacturing, distribution, and services. Previously, Mr. Thibault worked in financial advisory services for a decade at KPMG, and for five years as Vice President, Investment Banking, at Midland Walwyn/Merrill Lynch Canada. He has served on the boards of directors of two Crown corporations, and is a member of the advisory committee of a high-tech start-up. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant, with the Corporate Finance qualification (CPA, CA-CF), and a Chartered Business Valuator (CBV). Mr. Thibault holds an MBA and an ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.