Archived - Biographical Notes

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Carole Taylor
Former Minister of Finance
Government of British Columbia,
MLA for Vancouver-Langara

Carole Taylor served as Minister of Finance from June 16, 2005 to June 23, 2008. She was elected in the riding of Vancouver-Langara in the 2005 provincial general election. Ms. Taylor served as Chair of CBC/Radio-Canada from 2001 to 2005. She is well known for her media career, which included hosting W5, Canada AM and Pacific Report.

Her business activities have included chairing the Vancouver Board of Trade, Vancouver Port Corporation and Canada Ports Corporation. Her interest in good governance has led to her serving on the boards of HSBC Holdings (London), Canfor and Fairmont Hotels, among others.

She served as an independent alderman on Vancouver City Council from 1986 to 1990. She chaired the Neighbourhood, Cultural and Community Services Committee, the Task Force on Children—resulting in a Children's Advocate for the City—and the Greater Vancouver Regional District's Hospital Committee.

As a community volunteer, she has chaired the Vancouver Public Library, served as a director on the boards the BC Children's Hospital and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), and worked closely with S.U.C.C.E.S.S. She also spearheaded the Spirit of Vancouver campaign, resulting in her being presented with Tourism Vancouver's Spirit of Vancouver Award.

She has a BA in English from the University of Toronto and honorary degrees from Simon Fraser University, British Columbia Open University, and BCIT. She is also an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Ms. Taylor and husband Art Phillips live in Vancouver. She has two children, Christopher and Samantha.

W. Geoffrey Beattie
President
The Woodbridge Company Limited
Deputy Chairman
The Thomson Reuters Corporation

W. Geoffrey Beattie serves as President of Woodbridge Company Limited, a private holding company of the Thomson family. Prior to April 1998, Mr. Beattie was a Partner at the law firm of Tory DesLauriers & Binnington. Mr. Beattie has been a Director of Royal Bank of Canada since May 23, 2001. He also serves a Chairman and a Director of Bell Globemedia Inc. Mr. Beattie is a Director of the Dean's Advisory Board of the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto) and a Trustee of the University Health Network.

Paul Desmarais, Jr., O.C.
Chairman and CEO
Power Corporation of Canada

Born in Sudbury, Ontario, Paul Desmarais, Jr. studied at McGill University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He then graduated from the European Institute of Business in Fontainbleau, France, with a Master's degree in Business Administration.

In 1996, he was named Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation of Canada (PCC) and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Power Financial Corporation (PFC).  Prior to joining PCC in 1981, he was with SG Warburg & Co. in London, England, and with Standard Brands Incorporated in New York.  He was President and Chief Operating Officer of PFC from 1986 to 1989, and was Chairman from 1990 to 2005. He has been Co-Chair since 2008.

He is a Director and member of the Executive Committee of many Power group companies in North America.  He is also Executive Director and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Pargesa Holding (Switzerland) and a Director of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (Belgium), Total SA, GDF-Suez and Lafarge SA (France).

Mr. Desmarais is Chairman of the Board of Governors of The International Economic Forum of the Americas, Founder and Chairman of the International Advisory Committee of École des Hautes Études Commerciales, Montréal, and Founder and Member of the International Advisory Board of the McGill University Faculty of Management. He is also National Campaign Co-Chair for the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Vice-Chairman and member of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Council for Chief Executives, and member of the National Strategy Council of the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute.

He is a member of the International Council, a Director of the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD) and Global Advisor for Merrill Lynch.

George F.J. Gosbee
Chairman, President and CEO
Tristone Capital

George F.J. Gosbee founded Tristone Capital Inc. in September 2000. Prior to Tristone, Mr. Gosbee was a Managing Director at Newcrest Capital Inc., a Canadian national investment firm. Mr. Gosbee joined Newcrest after five years with the energy investment firm of Peters & Co. Limited, where he was a Managing Director and served on the Executive Committee.

Mr. Gosbee holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Calgary. In 2004 Mr. Gosbee was named by The Globe and Mail's Report on Business as one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40. As well, for the past three years Alberta Venture Magazine has chosen him as one of Alberta's 50 Most Influential People. In 2005 Ernst & Young named him the Prairie Region Entrepreneur of the Year.

Mr. Gosbee is Vice Chairman of the Alberta Investment Management Corporation, the $70-billion Government of Alberta fund. Mr. Gosbee is also Chairman of the Board for the Alberta College of Art and Design, and a board member of the Alberta Economic Development Authority, Edge School and the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta. He is a past board member of the Banff National Mountain Centre, the Sandy Cross Conservation Foundation and the Art Gallery of Calgary.

Isabelle Hudon
President
Marketel

Isabelle Hudon became Marketel's new President in November 2008. She is renowned on the Quebec scene—a highly experienced professional businesswoman with exceptional leadership capabilities that she is now bringing to Marketel and its clients. Her entrepreneurial skills are finely honed: A passionate and dedicated powerhouse, she was one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40 in 2005 (the 40 highest-performing Canadians under 40 years of age) and was recognized in 2006 as one of Canada's most influential women by Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100.

Ms. Hudon was President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal beginning in October 2004. As part of her mandate, she contributed significantly to the revitalization of the Board's activities and brought sound leadership to numerous socio-economic issues critical to Greater Montreal, Quebec and Canada. Prior to taking over the Board of Trade, she occupied positions at Bell Global Solutions, the Canadian Space Agency and BCE Media. She has also worked for a number of federal government departments and ministries.

A member of the Board of Holt Renfrew for the past several years, she also chairs the Boards of Directors of the Université du Québec à Montréal, the Société du Havre de Montréal and the Fondation les petits trésors of the Rivière-des-Prairies Hospital. She also sits on the Board of the Aéroports de Montréal.

James D. Irving
President
J.D. Irving

James D. Irving is President of J.D. Irving, Limited, a diverse, family-owned enterprise with over 125 years of involvement in the business community. Founded in 1882, J.D. Irving, Limited has operations in Eastern Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador), and the United States. The company employs a dedicated team of 15,000 associates who operate business units in: Forestry & Forest Products; Road, Rail and Sea Transportation; Shipbuilding & Industrial Marine; Retail; Industrial Equipment, Construction Services & Building Materials; and Consumer Products.

J.D. Irving, Limited is one of the top five private land owners in North America with over 3.4 million acres of freehold land. All of the company's timberlands are environmentally certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the International Standards Organization 14001 program.

The company leads Canada in reforestation efforts, planting over 770 million seedlings since 1957. J.D. Irving, Limited has been recognized by numerous national and international environmental groups, such as the World Wildlife Fund, for research and conservation efforts.

Mr. Irving is actively involved in leading the company's efforts in wild Atlantic salmon conservation and research as well as education partnerships with middle, secondary and post-secondary schools. The company has won several national education awards for its leadership in developing business-education initiatives for young people.

Mr. Irving lives in Saint John, New Brunswick, with his wife Lynn. They have four children.

Mike Lazaridis
President and Co-CEO
Research In Motion

Dr. Lazaridis is known in the global wireless community as a visionary, innovator, and engineer of extraordinary talent. He traces his passion for his work to his hometown of Windsor, Ontario, where his love of science and fascination with electronics were nurtured in supportive family and school environments.

As President and Co-CEO of Research In Motion, a company Dr. Lazaridis founded while a student at the University of Waterloo (UW), he is responsible for product strategy, research and development, product development, and manufacturing. Dr. Lazaridis is also a leader in his community and a passionate advocate for education and scientific research. Dr. Lazaridis supports his community and country through generous philanthropic gifts made possible by his success in business.

He has donated $75 million to UW to help establish an Institute for Quantum Computing. Dr. Lazaridis also personally invested $150 million in the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) and, through his leadership and tireless effort, has generated more than $100 million in additional private and public sector funding for this world-leading centre of scientific excellence. PI is home to a growing cluster of international scientists who are pushing the limits of our fundamental understanding of space, time, matter and information. Since opening in 2001, the institute has attracted the attention of the world's scientific research and educational outreach community. The independent centre is now associated with over 30 Canadian universities and a growing number of institutes worldwide.

Dr. Lazaridis holds honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Waterloo (Engineering), McMaster University, University of Windsor and Université Laval. He has been awarded Canada's most prestigious innovation prize—The Ernest C. Manning Principal Award—and was listed on the TIME 100 List of Most Influential People. Dr. Lazaridis is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, was named to the Order of Ontario and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Dr. Jack Mintz
The James S. & Barbara A. Palmer Chair in Public Policy

Dr. Jack Mintz was appointed the Palmer Chair in Public Policy at the University of Calgary in January 2008. He is now spearheading the creation of a new School of Policy Studies at the University of Calgary.

Widely published in the field of public economics, he was touted in a 2004 UK magazine publication as one of the world's most influential tax experts. He serves as an Associate Editor of International Tax and Public Finance and the Canadian Tax Journal, and is a research fellow of CESifo, Munich, Germany, and the Centre for Business Taxation Institute, Oxford University. He is a regular contributor to Canadian Business and the National Post, and has frequently published articles in other print media.

Dr. Mintz presently serves on several committees including the boards Brookfield Asset Management, Imperial Oil Limited, the Ontario Financing Authority, the National Statistics Council, Statistics Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Board of Management, International Institute of Public Finance.

Dr. Mintz held the position of Professor of Business Economics at the Rotman School of Business from 1989 to 2007. He has been a Visiting Professor, New York University Law School in 2007; President and CEO of the C. D. Howe Institute from 1999 to 2006; Clifford Clark Visiting Economist at the Department of Finance, Ottawa; Chair of the federal government's Technical Committee on Business Taxation in 1996 and 1997; and Associate Dean (Academic) of the Faculty of Management, University of Toronto from1993 to 1995. He was founding Editor-in-Chief of International Tax and Public Finance, published by Kluwer Academic Publishers from 1994 to 2001, and recently chaired the Alberta Financial and Investment Policy Advisory Commission reporting to the Alberta Minister of Finance.

In 2002, Dr. Mintz's book, Most Favored Nation: Building A Framework for Smart Economic Policy, was winner of the Purvis Prize for best book in economic policy and runner-up for the Donner Prize for best book in public policy.

Dr. Mintz has consulted widely with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the governments of Canada, Alberta, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan, and various businesses and non-profit organizations.

James A. Pattison
Chairman, President and CEO
Jim Pattison Group

James A. Pattison is a Vancouver-based entrepreneur who is the Chairman, President, CEO, and sole owner of the Jim Pattison Group, one of the largest privately held Canadian companies.

James Allen Pattison was born in the rural town of Luseland, Saskatchewan, in 1928. He moved with his parents to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1935. As a child, he sold magazine subscriptions and garden seeds door to door. While attending the University of British Columbia, he washed cars and worked at a used car lot. He dropped out of college, but enjoyed a successful career as a car salesman in the 1950s, which led to the purchase of his first dealership in Vancouver in 1961.

The single dealership bloomed into 13 dealerships in southwestern British Columbia over time. In 1965, Mr. Pattison acquired Vancouver's CJOR-AM, the first of 20 radio stations he would later own. This began his broad business diversification—he was quoted later as saying "My business strategy is that you don't have all your eggs in one basket." His empire eventually expanded into diversified fields including transportation, communications, food products, packaging, real estate, financial services, and the Ripley's Believe It or Not! museums at 27 locations in nine countries. Canadian Business magazine reported a net value of $5.2 billion and ranked the Jim Pattison Group 50th on a list of the most influential companies in the evolution of Canada's economy. At that time, the companies employed over 26,000 people out of 376 offices in 48 countries.

Pattison has served on the Boards of several companies and foundations, including the Toronto Dominion Bank, Canadian Pacific Ltd., and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. He served as Chairman of Expo 86, the successful World's Fair which secured a place for Vancouver on the international stage. He did so without compensation for approximately five years, and in doing so earned the admiration of many British Columbians. Largely in recognition of these efforts, he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1987. He was subsequently appointed to the Order of British Columbia in 1990. He married his childhood sweetheart, and together they have three children.

Ajit Someshwar
Chief Executive Officer, CSI Consulting

Ajit Someshwar was born in Bombay (Mumbai), India. He took an honours degree in commerce at the University of Bombay and obtained his chartered accountancy qualifications in India before moving to the United Kingdom, where he again completed the United Kingdom CA programme. He is currently working on a book on the history and influence of the 20-millon-strong Indian diaspora.

He moved to Canada from London and went on to launch and become president and chief executive of a large information technology and risk management company, CSI Consulting, based in Toronto. He is also chairman and chief executive of Bates Management Consulting Inc. and director of Iter 8, a technology solutions company specializing in simplifying Insurance systems for business.

Mr. Someshwar is an active speaker and participant in public policy forums such as the Canada India Foundation—an agency promoting bilateral relations between Canada and India. He is currently their National Convenor. Earlier this year he was appointed to the board of Export Development Canada. He is also an active fundraiser for various charities.

Formed in 1996, CSI Consulting Inc. is an IT Resource and Consulting organization working with the Canadian public and private sectors.

Annette Verschuren
Division President
The Home Depot Canada

Annette Verschuren is Division President of The Home Depot's Canadian operations, and also oversees The Home Depot's operations in China. She joined the company in 1996 and has overseen the rapid expansion of The Home Depot Canada, and is responsible for the company's leadership position in the home improvement retail industry.

Ms. Verschuren began her career as a development officer with the Cape Breton Development Corporation (coal mining) in Sydney, Nova Scotia. She went on to work with Canada Development Investment Corporation as Executive Vice President, privatizing various Crown corporations. She then joined Imasco Ltd. (Canadian holding company) as Vice President of Corporate Development. Prior to joining The Home Depot, Ms. Verschuren was President & co-owner of Michael's of Canada (arts & crafts stores) from 1993 to 1996.

She has been honoured with a Doctorate from both Mount Saint Vincent University and St. Francis Xavier University, and was recently honoured as Wilfrid Laurier University's 2006 Outstanding Business Leader. In 2005 she was awarded with Distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year by the Retail Council of Canada.

A native of North Sydney, Nova Scotia, Ms. Verschuren was recently appointed to the newly created North American Competitiveness Council as part of the Security & Prosperity Partnership of North America by Prime Minister Harper. She is also a board member of Liberty Mutual, Boston, MA. Ms. Verschuren also serves as Chancellor of Cape Breton University, is on the board of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, is Chair of Habitat for Humanity's National President's Council, and is spearheading the Corporate Council on Volunteerism. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia.