Please note that all presentations will be in English


Picture of Perry Phillips of ESOP Builders. Inc.

Perry Phillips

ESOP Builders President

“ESOPs: Post Graduate Issues for Growing and Mature ESOP Companies”

From helping Canada’s fastest growing companies implement engagement strategies to supporting business owners exiting on their terms, Perry Phillips is recognized as one of Canada’s leading experts on employee share ownership plans (ESOPs).

Perry is the Founder and President of ESOP Builders Inc. (the largest designer of ESOP plans in Canada for small and medium sized Canadian private companies) and also the Founder of the ESOP Association Canada (Canada’s only national not for profit organization promoting the ESOP concept in Canada) and primary author ESOPs in Canada: How to Implement an Employee Share Ownership Plan to Grow and Exit Your Business with Your Legacy Intact (2015).

Picture of Robin Farr

Robin Farr

WestJet’s Director of Internal Communications and Culture

“The WestJet Way: How Employee Ownership Affects Business”

Robin Farr is WestJet’s Director of Internal Communications and Culture, responsible for helping keep WestJetters informed and engaged with what’s happening across the WestJet world. She was born in Calgary and raised on the west coast, but in 2011 the mountains called her home. She landed at WestJet and hasn’t looked back. When not working, Robin can be found on the floor with her two boys and seemingly endless bins of LEGO, hitting the pavement for a run with her dog or writing and doing advocacy work for postpartum depression and other perinatal mood disorders. Robin has a bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia and a master’s in professional communications from Royal Roads University.

Robin will discuss what WestJet does to create a culture of care in the workplace and how this culture directly impacts the guest experience. She will also share the company’s “secrets to success” and how they have made WestJet the most trusted airline in Canada.

Picture of Steve Beauchesne of Beau's Brewery

Steve Beauchesne

Beau’s All Natural Brewing CEO/Co-Founder

“This change is everything: Selling your business to Rod Gilbank”

Steve Beauchesne is the co-founder of Beau’s All Natural, a family run, employee owned and totally independent Canadian craft brewery. Since its start-up in 2006, Beau’s has won more than 85 national and international awards for beer-making, marketing and packaging design, sustainability and business practices, and has raised more than $1 million for charity, community and independent arts. Steve certified Beau’s All Natural as Canada’s first-ever B-Corp brewery, founded February 1 as International Gruit Day and successfully lobbied to have some of Canada’s old beer laws changed to recognize the rights of craft brewers.

Steve is Vice Chair of the Ontario Craft Brewers Association, and a frequent presenter at craft brewing, culinary, and sustainability seminars and events. Steve was selected for the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce “Top Forty under 40” in 2015, and in 2013 Steve was recognized by the United Way with a Community Builder of the Year Award. Steve holds a B. Commerce degree from Toronto’s Ryerson University, and his kids think he’s a bit of a goofball.

Picture of Ramona Rodriguez-Brooks

Ramona Rodriguez-Brooks

National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) Outreach and Membership Coordinator

“The State of Employee Ownership: Numbers and Narratives from the US”

The NCEO is a US-based non-profit membership organization devoted to providing practical resources and reliable information about employee ownership. As Outreach and Membership Coordinator, Ramona focuses on spreading the word about the benefits of employee ownership to companies, community groups, business leaders, and the public. She also works to ensure that the NCEO’s membership is supported and growing.

Ramona brings to her job diverse professional experiences from managing education and outreach programs at a small theater company, to line cooking at a large film studio, to running all the technical aspects of live performances.

Ramona has a BA in Sociology with an emphasis in social inequality and a BA Theatre from the University of California, San Diego and can often be found having detailed conversations comparing and contrasting Mexican culinary styles in Northern and Southern California.

Picture of Ramy Taraboulsi

Ramy Taraboulsi

VeritableSoft Innovations Managing Director and CEO

“Positioning Your Employee-owned Company for Acquisition”

Ramy is responsible for all the day-to-day operations of VeritableSoft, in addition to setting up the strategic direction of the company as a board member.

Prior to working in VeritableSoft, Ramy held different executive positions including Chairman and CEO at SyncBASE, CIO at Insurance Bureau of Canada, VP – Internet Strategy and Development at Fidelity Investments, VP – Internet Strategy at Merill Lynch and Chief Systems Architect at Merill Lynch. Ramy has also held various directorship positions, and he is currently a director of CryptoMiles, AlphaOmega Reno Construction and ESOP Association Canada.

Ramy is a Professional Engineer who holds an M.Sc. in Computer Science, MBA and he is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

Ramy has been practicing different forms of martial arts for 35 years, and is currently actively practicing Karate and Tai Chi. He also plays music and enjoys travelling around the world.

Picture of Paul Maarschalk

Paul Maarschalk

Maarschalk Valuations Inc. President

“Valuation Issues for Established ESOPs ”

Paul has had many financial roles during his career but is now solely focused on business valuations, usually for Litigation Support (shareholder disputes, marital dissolution); Transaction Planning (sale and purchase, admission of new shareholders); and, Corporate Restructuring (tax and transition planning).

Paul has been a Chartered Accountant since qualifying with Ernst & Young (Zimbabwe office) in 1986. Paul immigrated to Canada from Zimbabwe in 2001 and became a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2003 and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators in 2007. He established Maarschalk Valuations Inc (MVI) in 2008.

Paul’s varied career has largely focused on corporate finance and corporate financial planning, disciplines that, like business valuations, require an ability to project forward and understand business risk. He has worked “in the trenches” in Canadian and international companies in financial services, value added agriculture, mining, mineral exploration, marketing, software and banking.

Paul lives and works in Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.

Picture of Melanie Russell

Melanie Russell

Kalex Valuations Inc. President and Founder

“Valuation issues for Pre or Early ESOPs”

Melanie is the founder of Kalex Valuations Inc. and began professional practice in 1985. Throughout her professional career, she has been involved in numerous valuation assignments for various purposes, including ESOP implementation, for a variety of public and private companies. She obtained her training at two of the large international accounting firms as well as in industry and has testified as an expert in business valuations, damage quantification, income analyses and forensic accounting. She founded Kalex Valuations Inc. in 1996.

Ms. Russell has been active in teaching business valuations and related topics since 1987 at various universities and professional organizations, and jointly runs a preparatory course for CBV students in Canada taking their national Membership Qualification Examination.

Patrick O’Brien

ESOP Association Canada Director

“Catalyzing Canada’s ESOP Community ”

Patrick O’Brien is a Director of the ESOP Association Canada.

Patrick is one of approximately 50 employee owners at Metcalf Archaeological Consultants. He has been a participant in the company’s ESOP since its inception in 2002, has served multiple terms on the ESOP Communication Committee, and was one of two co-trustees of the ESOP from 2008 through 2016. He also sits on Metcalf’s ESOP Administration Committee, which is responsible for tracking participation in, and distributions from, the Plan.

Picture of Dan Ohler of ESOP Builders Inc.

Dan Ohler

ESOP Builders Partner and Employee Ownership Specialist

“Employees thinking like owners: A key to engaging employees” Interactive Session

Dan is an Employee Ownership Specialist with ESOP Builders Inc., Canada’s premier firm for designing, training and implementing Employee Share Ownership, and Stock Option Plans for small- and medium-sized privately held companies.

Dan is a certified coach with the International Coach Federation, a skilled communicator and facilitator, and is known for building high-trust relationships with business owners and employees. He is adept at meeting clients’ needs by designing tailored ESOP transition plans.

Dean Psarras

Dean Psarras

Dale & Lessmann LLP Partner

“Legal Concerns – The Basics that make it seamless”

Dean practices business law with a focus on Canadian and cross-border mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and financing transactions. Dean also spends much of his time advising foreign and domestic clients with respect to the establishment and expansion of their businesses across Canada. He advises clients on business formations and wind-ups, immigration and employment matters, shareholder matters (including shareholder agreements, reorganizations and employee share offerings), financings, partnership and joint venture arrangements, corporate governance and regulatory matters and on-going commercial transactions.  Dean has particular expertise representing clients in the manufacturing, retail, distribution, private equity, insurance services, banking, renewable energy, agriculture and agrifood and not-for-profit sectors.

Picture of Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams

ESOP Builders Partner and Employee Ownership Specialist

“ESOP 101 – The Basics of How and Why This Works”

Jennifer is a consultant with ESOP Builders Inc. and works with Canadian business owners to design and implement their Employee Share Ownership Plan. She is a social entrepreneur who is passionate about the intersection of social purpose and business.

Jennifer has a degree in Anthropology and Political Science and has lived and worked in Mexico, El Salvador, Peru, and Ghana. Until 2013, Jennifer was active in the growth of La Siembra Co-operative, a worker-owned company. She currently owns a local and organic food business in Ottawa with her partner.

Jennifer is the mother of 4 beautiful and energetic children. She loves dancing, experiencing different cultures and spending time in nature.

Picture of Kevin Ballantyne

Kevin Ballantyne

The Achievement Centre Business Advisor

“Employees thinking like owners: A key to engaging employees” Interactive Session

Kevin is a Business Advisor with The Achievement Centre, a professional development and coaching organization that focuses on the people side of business. Kevin concentrates in two areas – helping companies & their leadership to become more successful and helping owners transition out of their business. One of the ways this is achieved is to help employees to think and act like owners – an important ingredient to make an ESOP successful.

Kevin is a Chartered Professional Accountant with over 25 years of industry experience strategically increasing profits. For over 5 years, he has been helping clients improve the financial performance of their business using strategic planning, financial advice and programs to increase profitability and employee engagement.

Picture of Tim Onciul

Tim Onciul

Silvacom Ltd. Chief Financial Officer

“One company’s journey to wealth creation”

Silvacom is a Canadian group of companies which provides Professional Services, Software and Data related to Land Planning for the resource sector. We have taken what some may call an extended ‘path to enlightenment’ when it comes to ESOPs and employee ownership. We began operations practicing more traditional management techniques, but changed directions as we started to adopt a strong learning culture. Employee Ownership became a long term focus for our group, and after 34 years of existence, ownership now includes 19 of the 90 employees of the group. Our culture began with zero financial disclosure, then moved towards a limited financial reporting model, and earned many bruises along the ways towards true ownership thinking and open book management. In addition to some solid ESOP coaching, we are now working through the educational process of building wealth, the challenges of getting everyone on the same page in terms of expectations, tying in succession planning, the build up of robust internal reporting, financial literacy, and the development of future generations of owners.

Our Founders and Senior Management Team fundamentally believe that the people who help build the business should share in its success, and that ownership can help shape the mindset to build long term value in a company.

Tim Onciul is a CPA and has been with Silvacom for 8 years in the role of CFO. Previously roles in other prominent Alberta organizations has provided him with good insight into the merits of Employee Ownership, and he thoroughly enjoys the teamwork and entrepreneurial spirit exhibited at Silvacom. When not plotting the next ESOP developments at Silvacom, Tim can be found on a bike, skiing, travelling, or listening to music.

Picture of David Hildebrandt

David A. Hildebrandt

IAFP President

“Designing a “Millennial ESOP” to Attract and Retain Quality Millennial Generation Employees”

Beginning now and during the next decade Millennial age employees will comprise the majority of the available workforce. Today’s global Millennials have very different views on the employment relationship than their parents and grandparents. They don’t want merely a high paying job. They want to be engaged with a socially conscious employer who involves them in the enterprise. A Millennial designed ESOP is a valuable tool for meeting the needs of the Millennial workforce. Hear and discuss the latest studies and ideas on the design of a Millennial ESOP with the President of the International Association for Financial Participation (IAFP), David Hildebrandt.

The IAFP is the international association of companies, academics, and individuals, which support financial participation for employees as a means of increasing productivity and fostering worker satisfaction. As President of the IAFP, David consults with the European Union on the harmonization of benefit program laws for EU Member States.

David is “of counsel” to the law firm of Kirton McConkie PC. He has more than 40 years of experience in the design, implementation, administration and government regulation of domestic and international ESOPs, employee benefit programs, qualified and non-qualified public and private retirement plans, deferred compensation programs, insurance programs, and other cash and stock based compensation and benefits programs. David spent over thirty years in Washington DC as a partner in major global law firms.

Picture of Edward Heakes

Ed Heakes

Dale & Lessmann LLP Partner

“Canadian Income Tax Considerations for ESOPs”

Ed’s practice includes most areas of tax planning including mergers and acquistions, cross-border taxation and estate and wealth planning. Ed has acted for clients large and small, in most industries, including the resource industries. He has been recognized for his leadership in the practice of tax law by his inclusion in Best Lawyers in Canada, 2013-2015 – Tax.

Ed provides corporate and international tax planning advice on a broad range of income tax issues including complex deal structuring, merger and acquisitions, corporate financings and reorganizations.

Prior to joining Dale & Lessmann in 2015, Ed was a Senior Partner of Norton Rose Fulbright LLP and was one of the founding partners of the Toronto Office of Macleod Dixon LLP, Calgary. In 2011, MD was merged into Norton Rose Fulbright. Prior to joining Macleod Dixon, Ed was a Tax Partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt.

Ed was called to the Bar of Ontario, is a graduate in law from the University of Western Ontario and has his Honours Bachelor of Mathematics (B. Math.) degree from the University of Waterloo.

In 2015, Ed completed the Independent Director course and received an ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.