Board of Directors
IAN SHERMAN – Chair (acting)
Partner, Tax Practice Market Leader, EY
Ian Sherman is a Tax Partner with 30 years of public accounting experience. He manages the EY Ottawa Office Tax Practice of over 75 professionals and is a Tax Account Leader coordinating and facilitating services to many of EY’s local and multinational clients in several industry sectors.
Ian supervises EY’s tax services to numerous companies including business tax advisory; SR&ED compliance and planning; tax accounting and risk advisory services; Canadian and US corporate tax compliance and planning; transfer pricing; commodity taxes; mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; corporate tax structures; tax controversy and tax risk management.
Ian was an Instructor for the CICA In-Depth Income Tax Course for over 10 years. From 2007 to 2011, he was the Chair for CICA Tax Course and Chair of its Tax Education Task Force. From 2011 to 2016, Ian was the Chair of the CPA Canada Income Tax Education Committee. In 2013, Ian was honoured with the CPA Canada Award for Excellence in Income Tax for Outstanding Services to the Profession and the Canadian Tax Community.
A member of the Canadian Tax Foundation and The Executive Committee (TEC) Canada, Chief Executives Working Together, Ian has recently graduated from the Rotman Directors Education Program of the Institute of Corporate Directors.
In 2006, Ian became a fellow of the institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario. In addition to numerous professional and communal awards and achievements, Ian was honoured in 2009 as the recipient of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year Award.
DIRK BOUWER – Vice Chair (acting)
Dirk Bouwer is a Partner in the Business Law Group at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP, the largest independent full service law firm in the National Capital Region.
Dirk obtained his law degree from McGill University and has been practising business law in Ottawa for more than 20 years, focusing primarily on mergers, acquisitions, corporate finance and commercial transactions.
Dirk has successfully assisted many clients spanning various industry sectors to complete their business purchase and sale transactions, financing transactions (debt and equity) and corporate reorganizations. Dirk is also a Canadian Registered Trade-mark Agent and provides advice and assistance to his clients in regard to trade-marks, corporate and business names.
An active and dynamic member of the business community, Dirk is a Past President of the Kanata Chamber of Commerce (2003-2004). Born in Pretoria, South Africa and raised in New Brunswick, he obtained his undergraduate degree at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. Dirk is a soccer enthusiast, having played in University and at the national level. Today, he continues his passion for the game by coaching his kids. Dirk lives in Carp with his wife and four children.
ROB WHITE – Treasurer
Robert White, CPA CA CMA is an independent adviser to and investor in startup software companies. Robert is Chair of the Board of Cliniconex Inc., a company delivering patient engagement solutions to the healthcare sector. He is a member of the Board of LiveQoS, a company focused on the delivery of software defined wide area network solutions. He is a member of the Board and Chair of the compensation committee for Pythian Group, a global provider of professional services. Robert is a strategic advisor to Ottawa based Member365 and Mindbridge AI.
Robert has over 20 year of experience in software industry finance and M&A. Previously he led M&A globally for IBM’s analytics business closing over a dozen acquisitions which include Toronto based Varicent Software, Clarity Systems, and Algorithmics. Robert has also closed a number of divestitures. Previously Robert led the post-merger integration of Ottawa based Cognos into IBM. Robert started his software career with Ottawa based Object Technology International where he was Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Robert focuses his volunteer time on causes supporting education and entrepreneurialism.
Robert is Chair of the Board of the Ottawa Network for Education, an organization which works with education, business, government and community partners to develop programs that enrich public education in Ottawa. Robert is also a member of the boards of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and Invest Ottawa. Robert is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at the Telfer School of Management
Robert holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Ottawa. He graduated magna cum laude in 1992. Robert was awarded the Trudeau Medal by the University of Ottawa in 2014 recognizing his contributions to the school and his community. He was admitted to membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in 1993. He was admitted to membership of the Society of Management Accountants of Ontario in 1994.
IWONA ALBRECHT – Secretary
Lawyer, Soloway Wright LLP
Iwona Albrecht is a partner with Soloway Wright LLP, where she specializes in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and securities. Iwon is a corporate lawyer specializing in corporate finance transactions accessing local and international capital markets (such as debt financing, private placements, dealer-brokered special warrant financings, investments by venture capital firms) and merger and acquisition transactions. She participates in corporate reorganizations, cross-border transactions, private placements, acquisitions and dispositions for both closely and widely held acting for vendors and purchasers. She also advises companies in initial public offerings or in respect of compliance with securities legislation.
Iwona was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 2005. Iwona was a recipient of 2014 Forty Under 40 recognition. Iwona is active in number of Ottawa organizations and charitable initiatives by being a board, governance committee, or special committee member. She is also a frequent speaker on various legal topics relating to her practice.
MICHAEL CROCKATT – Past Chair
President and CEO, Ottawa Tourism
Michael Crockatt is a recognized leader in tourism and aviation in Canada. Prior to joining Ottawa Tourism, Michael served as Senior Vice President with InterVISTAS Consulting, where he was responsible for the firm’s airline, air service development, and tourism practices in Canada.
Michael counts over 15 years of experience at the management level with two of Canada’s major airports, the Winnipeg Airports Authority and the Ottawa International Airport Authority.
He is the immediate past-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), and a past-Chair of the Board of Directors of Ottawa Tourism. In 2010, Michael was a recipient of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and Ottawa Business Journal Forty Under 40 Awards.
Moe Abbas is the CEO of GenM an education technology company. GenM provides project-based training for entry-level marketing jobs. At GenM, candidates learn marketing by doing the same projects that professionals do in the workplace. They are able to showcase experience related to the job they are applying for with real work examples.
Formerly Moe founded The Canadian General Contractors group of companies and grew the organization to 20 million dollars in annual sales with locations in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver within 5 years. Moe sits on the Board of Directors of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Ontario. He is a recipient of the Forty under 40 award, NKBA 30 Under 30 award, and City of Ottawa’s Immigrant Entrepreneur award.
Vice President, Corporate and Government Affairs, Huawei Canada
As VP Corporate Affairs for Huawei Canada, Scott helps lead Huawei’s emergence as a key contributor to Canada’s telecommunications industry. Scott manages all external-facing functions for the organization, including brand development, public affairs, marketing communications and government relations. He is also the lead spokesperson for the company in Canada.
In supporting Huawei’s investment in their Kanata-based Canada Research Centre, Scott has been a champion in promoting the Ottawa Region as a key centre within North America for telecommunications and ICT research-particularly for companies based in China and Asia.
Over the past decade, Scott has served on a number of community boards and volunteer organizations, and has been a member of the Ottawa Chamber board since 2014.
Scott has an MBA from Queen’s University and a BA from the University of Western Ontario.
CEO and Co-Founder, Searidge Technologies
As CEO, Moodie oversees the corporate direction and strategy for Searidge’s global operations. He focuses on leadership, complex deal negotiations, and customers. Moodie has successfully grown revenue year over year in excess of 25%, while maintaining the company’s profitability. He continues to be recognized for his mentorship, entrepreneurship and active involvement in the community.
With the goal of supporting local technology entrepreneurship and getting Canadian-based innovation accepted globally, Moodie is an active Board member of two Ottawa-based organizations. He is also an industry recognized expert in the area of airport surface optimization—speaking at 50+ global conferences.
In 2014 he was named one of Ottawa’s “Top 40 under 40” and under his leadership, Searidge has been recognized for its’ market leading technology with Jane’s Airport Review “Innovation Award”, Ottawa’s Exporter of the Year and was named to the Deloitte & Touche LLP “Companies-to-Watch” list, an award honouring Canadian technology companies who display the kind of management expertise and superior technology that mark a successful early-stage company poised for continued growth.
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Hill+Knowlton Strategies
Jackie King has in-depth expertise in strategic planning, is a proven business and people leader, and has over 19 years of experience in the field of strategic communications and business administration. With the country’s top-ranked public relations and public affairs consultancy since 1999, Jackie is currently Senior Vice President and General Manager of Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ Ottawa office. In that capacity, she is responsible for developing and executing the corporate plan and is accountable for strategic direction and performance of the office and its people.
Simultaneously Jackie leads and manages multiple, complex national and international client files. Throughout her time with the firm, she has had an opportunity to work with the best, the brightest and the most innovative public relations and public affairs professionals in the world, and has built a comprehensive knowledge of best practices in, and the evolving nature of communications, as well as the competitive and noisy public policy landscape and the machinery/operations of the federal, provincial and municipal governments.
In her role as a consultant, Jackie has counseled boards, senior executives and officials and has developed and led the execution of integrated, sustainable, results-driven strategies for clients in almost every sector and industry in the Canadian economy. She provides expert, strategic counsel and support in the areas of corporate reputation, employee communications and engagement, stakeholder engagement, public affairs, advocacy, marketing and branding, dispute resolution, and risk and crisis management.
Jackie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Carleton University, graduated with honours from the Algonquin College Public Relations program, and has completed the Canadian Securities Course, and the Strategic Management of Investor Relations Program at the Richard Ivey School of Business. Jackie also taught the Public Relations course to 4th year journalism students at Carleton University. She is currently a member of the National Board of International Women’s Forum Canada, is a member of the executive committee of the Ottawa chapter of the International Women’s Forum Canada, sits on the board of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, and serves as a member of the community advisory committee of the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Center.
CYRIL M. LEEDER
An FCPA and former President of the Ottawa Senators, Cyril Leeder was one of a small group of people who brought the NHL franchise to Ottawa in 1990. Cyril has also been a major force that won the bid to host the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship, the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend and the 2013 World Women’s Hockey Championship. In 2012 Cyril was inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame and in 2008 Cyril was honoured as the Business Person of the Year at the Ottawa Business Achievement Awards.
He was recently recognized with an EY Community Builder Award at the 2015 EY Entrepreneur Awards.
Cyril is active in a number of local community and charitable initiatives including; the Ottawa Senators Foundation, Ottawa Carleton Ice Partnership and the Bell Capital Cup.
Executive Director, University of Ottawa Telfer Executive MBA Program
Sophia Leong is the Executive Director of University of Ottawa Telfer Executive MBA Program, Council Member of Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Executive–‐in–‐Residence of Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance, Advisory Board Member for Startup Canada and invited judge for multiple startup competitions. She is also Managing Director of 3Coins, an organization that provides strategic and management services to both local and international technology companies.
Sophia accepted the appointment to lead the Executive MBA program to give back to a program that has a profound impact on her professional and personal life. Prior to the appointment, Sophia had held several executive positions including Vice–‐President of Business Development of KLOCwork Solutions, a software solution company she had co–‐founded and commercialized from Nortel Networks.
Sophia has extensive strategic and general management experience working with technology companies. While she was with Nortel Networks, she was directly engaged in commercializing business ventures by leveraging angel and venture capital markets. Sophia was involved with management of seven business ventures with global platform involving technologies such as neural technology, speech recognition, e–‐ commerce payment, digital content management/protection and mission critical assessment applications for software assets. She assumed an executive role when working directly with respective General Managers while reporting to the respective Board of Directors.
She is a recipient of numerous awards for outstanding contribution and was also awarded a patent on software business process for Mergers and Acquisition during her time at Nortel Networks and Nortel Technology. She sits on a few boards and has successfully exited from two startups that she co–‐founded.
Partner, Assurance Practice Leader, BDO Ottawa
Robert Rhéaume is an Assurance Partner with more than 30 years of public accounting experience. He is the Partner responsible for the St. Laurent Office and a member of the executive committee for the National Capital Region.
He is a a trusted advisor for owners of private enterprises and executives of not-for-profit and public sector organizations in the National Capital Region. Robert sits on BDO’s National Not-for-Profit & Education Industry Group.
Robert provides accounting, assurance, taxation and advisory services to small, medium sized businesses, not-for-profit organizations, pensions plans and unions. Robert brings extensive experience to his clients both from being a professional advisor and an individual that has spent part of his career in the private sector. His private industry experience supplements his knowledge base and allows him to provide advice that is tailored to the need of the stakeholders.
Robert is also a Board member for a number of not-for-profit organizations in Ottawa, including his recent appointment as the Treasurer of Kids Up Front Foundation Ottawa.
Robert is active in the community and currently is passionate about raising funds for United Way Ottawa and the Ottawa Sleep Out for Youth of Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa. You can also find him indulging in gardening and playing with his grandchildren outside of his hectic schedule.
VP, Ottawa Specialized Commercial Markets RBC
As Vice President Commercial Financial Services at RBC, Jorge Useche leads the Technology, Supply Chain and Retail teams in the Ottawa region. Jorge joined RBC nine years ago and has had progressively senior roles in the areas of Private Banking, Mutual Funds Business, Risk Management and Commercial Banking.
Prior to this position, Jorge worked as a senior consultant for IBM, PWC and other reputable companies and prides himself in helping clients transform their businesses. Jorge is an Industrial Engineer and holds an MBA from Queen’s University. He recently moved to Ottawa with his wife Beatriz, and two children and they are excited to discover all that this great city has to offer. Originally from Colombia, Jorge enjoys travelling and has had the opportunity to visit countries across the Americas, Europe and Asia.
General Manager, Rideau Centre, Cadillac Fairview
Cindy VanBuskirk has been employed by the Viking Rideau Corporation and by the Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited, the owners and managers of CF Rideau Centre, for the past 25 years. After several years directing the marketing and leasing program at the property, Cindy was promoted to the position of General Manager in 2006 and currently manages a staff of 57 full and part-time employees and oversees a retail complex valued in excess of a billion dollars.
Cindy was a key member of the project team responsible for delivering the recently completed $360M redevelopment of CF Rideau Centre which has reinvigorated downtown Ottawa east of the Rideau Canal and reinforced the shopping centre’s position as one of Canada’s leading retail properties.
Cindy has been an active member of Ottawa Tourism and the Board of Directors for many years and has served on the Board in various capacities including Vice-Chair of the Board and Chair of both the Membership Committee and former Communications Committee.
In addition, she has participated on a variety of Ottawa Tourism special project sub-committees and other industry committees and is one of the founders of the Stars of the City customer service awards program. Cindy also currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Downtown Rideau Business Improvement Area Board of Directors.
Senior Manager, Deloitte
Ruby Williams, CPA, CA, CBV, CFA is a senior manager in the Ottawa office of Deloitte LLP (“Deloitte”). Ms. Williams has over fifteen of experience providing auditing, accounting and financial advisory services working with a diverse range of clientele including the federal government, municipalities, high-tech, owner-managed enterprises, public and not-for-profit organizations.
Since 2003, Ruby has been specializing in corporate finance and mergers & acquisitions (M&A) advisory services for both private and public companies in connection with M&A, divestitures, financial reporting, estate planning, corporate restructuring and litigation support.
In addition, Ruby was also involved in a number of Initial Public Offerings (IPO) and other private equity financings, providing valuation and transaction services.
Ruby has also played a key leadership role developing, strengthening and leading Deloitte’s Mergers and Acquisitions practice in the National Capital Region.
Further, Ruby has been involved in the Hong Kong Canada Business Association Ottawa as a member of the Board of Director and as the Past President of the association. Through her volunteering services, Ruby has led the organization in promoting bi-lateral trade between Canada and Hong Kong and through Hong Kong to the rest of Asia. The organization continues to provide resources and support to help Canadian / Ottawa businesses excel internationally.
Ruby is also active in the community and currently sits on the board of Dovercourt Recreation Center, a not-for-profit organization serving the Westboro community. She lives in Westboro with her husband and two children and enjoys volleyball, golfing and reading in her chaotic schedule.