Instructor Bios

Carlos Arriaga is a Microsoft Certified System Administrator, Independent IT and Security consultant and web developer, he owns and operates the company ACTION Network IT Solutions, dedicated to support, design, build and maintain IT and security infrastructures. With clients like Saint Vincent Nursing Home, the Metro Business Association, Main Street Business Incorporated District, Spryfield Business Association, Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education, Hooked Rug Museum of North America and other important businesses abroad. Specialized in Google, he has volunteered as an instructor at the Halifax Public Library. He is also an active member of the Metro Business Association and AWENS and an instructor for the Workplace Education Initiative of Nova Scotia, where he has taught courses such as Cloud Computing I and II, Google Apps for Business, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Advanced Excel. He has also provided different workshops like Google Drive for Business, Google Analytics, Evernote, Internet Security, Team Viewer.

Amanda Avery, CPA, CA is an Assurance Manager at Baker Tilly Nova Scotia and is the formal Internal Auditor for the 13 NSCC Campuses. Amanda has been concentrating on audit and assurance for over seven years focusing on a variety of Not-For-Profit, Public Sector and First Nations clients. Amanda is equally comfortable giving business advice too small and mid-sized owner-managed organizations as well as large government entities. Amanda has experience in Risk Management, Internal Controls and Fraud Assessments. Prior to her audit focus, Amanda held various accounting roles in real estate and manufacturing companies. Amanda is the Treasurer of the Colchester East-Hants Public Library Foundation and enjoys spending time with her Newfoundland dogs and horses.

Karine Benzacar is Managing Director of Knowledge Plus Corp., an organization which specializes both in business training and in providing financial, accounting and management information services. As a professional accountant, certified both in Canada and in the U.S., Karine's practice has involved organizations all across North America. Karine has also taught Masters courses at several leading universities and has published numerous articles in leading industry publications.

Michelle Black is an associate with Stewart McKelvey in the Halifax Office. Her expertise lies in the areas of management side labour and employment law where she advises clients on labour relations, employment matters, human rights issues, administrative, occupational health & safety, workers' compensation and education law. She has worked on matters for various types of organizations, ranging from those with complex systems of human resources administration to those with a small staff. Michelle has appeared at all levels of court in Nova Scotia, before Human Rights Boards of inquiry, and at the Nova Scotia Labour Board. While she assists her clients with adversarial matters, Michelle also provides proactive advice on ways to avoid issues before they arise, including the creation of effective employment agreements, policies, and other employee communications. Michelle holds a BSc from Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario and an MSc and LLB from Dalhousie University.

Ward Blatch, CPA, CA provides consulting and training services as a partner with K2E Canada throughout the United States and Canada. The professional development courses presented by Ward include cloud computing, business intelligence, security, technology updates, internal controls, paperless office, mobile office, Adobe Acrobat, Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. Ward obtained his CPA, CA designation while working at a Nova Scotia regional accounting firm before starting his own consulting and accounting practice. His practice provides accounting, tax, training, support, and network evaluations for small businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

Rob Bourgeois, CPA, CA is the Director of Financial Accounting with the NS Department of Finance and Treasury Board.  He is responsible for providing public sector financial accounting support to government departments and overseeing the preparation of the Province’s Consolidated Public Accounts.  He has presented numerous public sector topics to various groups within the Province.  He has been with the Province of Nova Scotia since January 2009 and has extensive experience in the interpretation and application of Public Sector Accounting Standards (PSAS).  Prior to joining the Province, Rob worked with KPMG in Halifax for 7 years.  He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from St. Mary's University and is a Chartered Professional Accountant.

Bobby Boutilier, CPA, CA is Vice President of Tax for Armco Capital Group of Companies.  He is responsible for implementing and executing tax planning and compliance for a diverse group of privately held companies.  Prior to joining Armco, Bobby was Director of Tax Reporting and Compliance for a national grocery retailer with a focus on tax compliance and financial reporting for tax.  Bobby has also spent five years in the tax group of a Big Four firm, providing personal and corporate tax services to clients ranging from owner managed companies to large public corporations.  Bobby has presented numerous tax topics for CPANS and other groups.

David Cameron, CPA, CA, TEP is a Tax Partner with Baker Tilly Nova Scotia Inc.  He has more than twenty years of experience in public accounting, including more than fifteen years of experience as a full-time tax practitioner.  He has also worked in industry for 2 ½ years, primarily in a lead role as Director of Taxation for a large privately held corporate group focused on real estate development and investments.  He has a broad range of experience managing Canadian corporate, personal, and trust taxation compliance and planning requirements for both privately held and publicly traded companies.

Jeff Christian, CPA, CA, CIM is a Senior Wealth Advisor at Scotia McLeod. He currently provides investment management, financial, tax and estate planning solutions for high net worth households, owner managed businesses and other charitable organizations. In addition to presenting various topics at CPA NS Jeff has been involved with the Atlantic School of Chartered Accountancy, the CICA Income Tax Practice Course and CPA Canada.

Blair Cook, CPA, CA, CPA (Ill) is a many-time and active financial executive, corporate director, author, speaker, and thought leader.  His educational videos of accounting and finance have million of views on YouTube. He has keynoted and spoken at national conferences from New York to Toronto. Along with Jen, he co-hosts CPA Canada’s podcast series “CPA Success Podcast.” He works with real businesses experimenting with theories and best practices to share his experiences and stories with others of what works, what doesn’t, and what was learned.  He is the author of The Illiterate Executive: An Executive’s Handbook for Mastering Financial Acumen.

Wayne Crawley, FCPA, FCA, is a business builder involved with several private companies including Venor, Termaco, Vii, Shift, Symplicity Designs and others. Wayne had a 20 year career with Emera Inc. and successfully completed Business Development of over $1 billion in enterprise value. He has over 25 years of international experience in business development, strategy, operations, corporate effectiveness, audit and finance. Wayne has been active throughout his career serving the community and currently serves on the Board of the Halifax Convention Centre, Habitat for Humanity NS, Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia and is an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Military. He is also a member of the executive for Young Presidents Organization (YPO Gold Atlantic Chapter). Wayne was also recognized as Top 40 Under 40 in Canada in 2001.

Robert Dean, CPA, CA, CFP, TEP is a Business Advisor with MNP in Dartmouth. Drawing on more than 20 years of experience, Robert assists with tax planning and compliance, compensation planning, succession, the purchase and sale of businesses and corporate reorganization. Since 2001, Robert has spoken and written about issues and industry trends related to tax strategies, business challenges and succession planning.  After earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Robert became a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), qualifying as a Chartered Accountant (CA) in 1996. He earned the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation in 1999 and the Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) designation in 2013 and holds an advanced certificate in family business advising from the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Christine Doucet, LLB is a partner with the Halifax law firm of McGinty Doucet Walker (MDW) Law and practices primarily in the area of family law. She has a particular interest in the financial aspects of separation and divorce as they relate to the division of matrimonial property and determination of income for support purposes. Ms. Doucet is a trained mediator and collaborative family lawyer.

Deirdre Evans, MBA, BA. Management consultant and academic with over 20 years’ experience in strategy development, new ventures, marketing and data analytics. Deirdre has worked as a consultant for many of Canada’s top companies. She has taught for Memorial and Dalhousie’s MBA programs, as well as Saint Mary’s Masters in Technology, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Currently, she is a member of NSCC’s Waterfront Business Faculty where in-class she instructs aspiring Nova Scotian business students and entrepreneurs, as well as works on provincial initiatives to grow the local economy.

Marsha Fanning MBA, CPA, CMA, CAEd is a recovering perfectionist who believes in the power of learning from mistakes, and that everyone deserves to feel valued as a part of a team. She is an advocate for taking a human approach to business and problem solving. She helps people see the value in obtaining multiple perspectives, and the richness it can bring to telling their story. She works with companies in a variety of areas including strategy, business planning, risk, and employee engagement, utilizing a Human Centered Design approach. Marsha has worked in public and private companies in roles that range from making curls on ice-cream cones to taking a seat at a Crown Corp Executive table. After a 20-year career with Sobeys and the NSLC, Marsha is now a consultant, facilitator and educator who along with her husband, tries to keep up with her two boys while being mindful that they grow fast!

Ute Fiedler has travelled to 45 countries, learned 4 languages, and has been exposed to various academic disciplines including Economics, Business Administration, and Adult Education.  She has enjoyed running an international consultancy, teaching and working at universities, and dedicating time to immigrant settlement and career transition education. Almost 25 years ago, Ute learned to conceptualize cultural similarities and differences to bridge the gaps between people of diverse backgrounds.  Since then, Ute has shown businesses how to build strong international partnerships based on cultural understanding; she has taught students to increase their self-awareness and confidence through international education; and she has helped immigrants find meaningful employment and become culturally integrated.  Ute loves to share her passion for Lifelong Intercultural Learning. Long ago, when her high school teacher told her parents that Ute would never be able to speak a foreign language, she knew that mastering the seemingly impossible strongly motivates her.  Today, as a German born, Canadian citizen with a Mexican heart, she raises her bi-racial children in a multicultural environment. Ute is dedicated to fostering the Art of Living and Working Together in constructive harmony. Ute hold a Bachelor of Arts (Econ) from Heidelberg University in Germany, a Master in Business Administration from Dalhousie University, and is a candidate in the Master of Education (Lifelong Learning) program at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Melinda Fleming is a Senior Manager with Grant Thornton LLP specializing in sales taxes.  She works with a variety of clients both internationally and throughout Canada. Melinda has 12 years of experience working in tax, finding creative solutions that work for a wide variety of clients.  Prior to joining Grant Thornton in 2013, Melinda was a Tax Compliance Auditor with the Canada Revenue Agency.  These experiences bring a unique perspective and a competitive advantage when assisting clients.  Melinda has presented at the Atlantic Tax Federation and has facilitated various CPA GST/HST courses in the past.  Melinda enjoys volunteering at the Phoenix Youth Shelter in Halifax.  Phoenix is a not-for-profit community-based organization supporting youth between the ages of 11 and 24.

Danette Foster, CPA, CA

Stephen P. Franklin has taught Professional Development for 27 years, currently in his own practice with his own training programs.  Previously he worked for a number of years with the Atlantica Learning Corp.  Stephen’s earliest experience was working in partnership with Day-Timers of Canada. His courses are based on extensive research and methodical testing to ensure that the information, skills, processes and techniques presented are real solutions that produce real results.  Stephen is an experienced facilitator, facilitating in accordance with the International Board of Standards for Training Performance and Instruction. His experience also includes extensive personal coaching; helping clients develop personal motivation for professional skills development, facilitating them through the necessary behaviour changes to make it happen.

Michael Frenette, PMP, I.S.P., CMC, MCITP is owner of Corvo Project Management, a training and consulting firm specializing in project management training (est. 2010), and manages the project management office for the IT Section of Halifax Water. His areas of expertise include portfolio, program and project management, change management, requirements management, virtual teaming and enterprise project management. Mr. Frenette gained technical expertise in the early days of his career in Information Technology, later moving into management roles in the mid-eighties, working for companies engaged in utilities, oil and gas, manufacturing and IT & Management consulting. As a volunteer, he presided over the boards of the Canadian Information Processing Society of Nova Scotia (3 years), and the Project Management Institute, Nova Scotia Chapter (8 years). He has been volunteering continuously for PMI Global since 2008, in six different roles, the most current of which is as a member of the PMI Standards Insight Team. Michael is serial presenter, having delivered over 60 presentations in the last dozen years to industry groups, PMI chapters and at PM conferences. He is a graduate of PMI’s Leadership Institute Masters Class and holds a diploma from NSCC’s IT program. He holds professional certifications from CIPS (I.S.P./ITCP), PMI (PMP), ScrumStudy (SMC, SDC & SCT), Microsoft (MCITP), and ITSM (ITIL Foundation).

Lisa Gallivan, LLB was appointed as a part-time member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in 2014. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University. She has been a member of the Nova Scotia Bar since being called in 1997. Her practice focuses on labour and employment law including employment contracts, human rights, collective bargaining, workplace investigations, occupational health and safety, grievance arbitration and wrongful dismissal litigation. She has appeared before various courts, administrative and professional regulatory bodies and commissions. Lisa is also a presenter, trainer and facilitator providing on-site training for employees and executives on all workplace matters including facilitation of executive meetings and retreats, policy development and strategic business planning.

Maureen R Gillis, CPA, CA, facilitates adult learning in topics related to leadership, success, and human behaviour. With formal training in adult learning, professional training in human resources management, and with a designation as a Chartered Professional Accountant, Maureen brings a multi-disciplinary perspective to her interactive workshops. Her teaching and facilitation work began early in her career. She has taught for various universities and facilitated professional development courses for members of professional organizations. With decades of leadership experience, she brings professional insight to her courses, offering a variety of approaches to accommodate the different needs of learners. During her career, Maureen has also been active in volunteer roles as a coach and with organizations such as the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants Public Sector Accounting Board, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia, Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia, the Financial Management Institute, the Chamber of Commerce, among others. She also served as a volunteer financial advisor for an NGO in Ghana, West Africa. Today, Maureen enjoys teaching and delivering courses to members of professional groups and associations on current topics of interest that support ongoing development and growth for leaders.

Sheila Gillis, FCPA, FCA is a Tax Partner with MGM & Associates, Sydney. She has presented training programs and courses on various taxation topics to staff as well as to clients and the business community. Sheila has presented the CPA NS' Tax Update Course in Sydney since 1995.

James Green is a lawyer with Cox & Palmer in Halifax who specializes in all aspects of workplace law. His practice focuses on assisting unionized and non-unionized employers to navigate the various legal issues which arise in the modern workplace, including drafting and interpreting employment contracts and collective agreements; human rights and accommodation; privacy in the workplace; occupational health and safety; and representation in wrongful dismissal claims and grievance arbitrations. James obtained his law degree from the Schulich School of Law in Halifax, after graduating from St. Francis Xavier University. In addition to his legal work, James serves on the Board of Directors of the Nocturne: Art at Night Society.

Mike Haley, M.Sc., is President of Landmark Decisions Inc., a Halifax-based niche consulting firm providing worldwide “performance alignment” facilitation, training, and implementation services.  Mike has over 25 years experience in consulting and developing/delivering professional training on strategic and operational planning, business process modeling, costing and performance management techniques which help organizations improve their business decision-making capacity. Mike has worked internationally with clients such as Kroger Foods, Maersk-Sealand, Nomura Group, Pfizer, Telekom Malaysia, University of Sydney, US Navy, and various New Zealand government departments. Domestic clients include Air Canada, Bell Aliant, Canadian Coast Guard, Health Canada, Transport Canada, and Veterans Affairs. Mike provides both on-line and workshop training on Effective Operational Planning and Costing through CPA Canada. Mike also serves on the Nova Scotia Chapter Board of the Financial Management Institute of Canada (FMI).

Kate Harris, LLB, QC, TEP is a Tax Partner with Patterson Law; she has practiced in the following areas: Taxation, estate planning and trusts, business law, professional corporations, the purchase and sale of businesses, corporate reorganizations, succession planning for the owner-manager.

Andrew Inman, CPA, CA is a Senior Manager with MNP’s Tax practice in Halifax. He obtained his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Saint Francis Xavier University in 2011.  He became a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), qualifying as a Chartered Accountant (CA) in 2014.  Andrew has experience delivering advice and solutions to corporations and high net worth individuals, helping them navigate Canadian domestic, complex cross-border and international tax issues for large related groups of companies and privately-owned companies. Andrew has over 8 years in experience in accounting, private corporation tax and compensation planning, public company corporate tax planning, tax provisioning, tax due diligence, transaction tax and other tax reporting matters. Andrew also sits on the Board of Directors for Oakfield Golf and Country Club.

Judy Johnson has worked for 35 years as a facilitator and coaching consultant in experiential learning, leadership development and organizational effectiveness. She works with government, private and community-based organizations internationally and locally. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work and a Masters of Adult Education. Judy is known for her insight and her ability to go into the depth of a subject in a light & entertaining way.  Judy is adept in process facilitation, team development, principled negotiation, conflict resolution, experiential education design and delivery, needs assessment and program evaluation. She uses a balance of reflective, creative and interactive activities to assist individuals and groups to use their natural wisdom, talents and inner power to create and sustain constructive forward momentum in their organizations.

Kelly Johnstone, CPA, CA is a partner at BDO and runs the CFO and Controller Services for the firm.  She has over 20 years of professional experience providing accounting and business advisory services. Since 2012, she has focused her practice on delivering Outsourcing, Financial Advisory and Recruiting Services to small and medium-sized organizations in a variety of industries. Prior to this, Kelly spent eight years working for both small and large publicly traded companies in a wide range of industries, including aerospace and defense, manufacturing, software and technology in the roles of General Manager, Vice President of Finance, Director of Finance and Controller.  Kelly is a CPA in Canada and the US, has taken executive education at Harvard University and London School of Business, and was the gold medal winner when graduating from Saint Mary’s University in 1997.

Kristina King, CPA, CA graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration with Honours from Acadia University before articling with KPMG in Calgary where she obtained her designation. Kristina has worked for KPMG in Calgary, Australia, and returned to Halifax in 2012 where she was a Senior Manager with KPMG’s audit practice. During her time in public accounting, her primary client base centered around the investment industry and not for profit sector. Kristina currently works for the Province of Nova Scotia. Kristina is also on the Finance Committee of the St. John Ambulance of Nova Scotia and marks the CFE as well as for the PEP program.

Samuel Kiragu, CPA (K) started his accounting career with KPMG Kenya before transferring to KPMG Cayman Islands where he was involved in hedge funds audits. He also worked with UBS Funds Services Cayman and Mitsubishi UFJ Funds Services focusing on hedge fund accounting and regulatory compliance. He is the coordinator of financial services programs at Nova Scotia Community College (Ivany Campus). He is helping in developing and facilitating new financial services courses relating to financial services risk and regulatory compliance and hedge funds (alternative investments). He also teaches Accounting and Finance courses on part-time basis at Mount Saint Vincent University. Sam is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS). He holds an MBA in Accounting and Finance from University of Liverpool (UK) and holds Canadian Securities Course (CSC) Certificate. He has facilitated Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and CFT trainings for financial institutions, accounting firms, federal agencies and professional associations in Canada, Cayman Islands, and Eastern Africa.

Anita Kirkbride's mission is to empower entrepreneurs and employees to share their stories on social media so they can grow a business or career that facilitates living their best life. Not only will she help you understand how YOU can use social media, she will do it using easy-to-understand language, real examples, and with practicality in mind. Anita is the Head Twirp at Twirp Communications Inc, Halifax's leader in social media consulting and training, as well as the Founder of Social Media Day Halifax.

Michelle Lane, CPCC is a leadership consultant, facilitator and coach. She works with professionals who want to be more effective leaders and leadership teams who want to develop the leadership, strategy and culture needed for organizational success. Michelle helps her clients discover and develop the clarity, competence and confidence they need to be more effective; build their capacity for more strategic and complex leadership; and create the conditions for success in the organizations in which they lead. Michelle's experience spans 35 plus years in multiple industries and sectors, encompassing public, private, non-profit and multi-sector work.

Greg Leslie, CPA, CA, TEP is a Partner in Baker Tilley’s Halifax tax practice. Greg is involved with succession and estate planning, corporate reorganizations, tax compliance, and the charities and not-for-profit sector. A graduate of Dalhousie University where he received a Bachelor of Commerce degree, Greg was admitted into the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia (ICANS) in 2004. He is a current member of Family Business Atlantic and past president of the Halifax Estate Planning Council. He is a member of the Society or Trust and Estate Practitioners and currently sits on the Board of STEP Atlantic. Greg has completed Part III of the CICA In-depth Tax course. He is a frequent lecturer and tutor for CPA Nova Scotia and CPA Canada and has presented on income tax matters to a variety of local and regional business organizations.

Mallory Levy, CPA received her designation in 2017 specializing in the assurance and tax electives.  She has worked with Grant Thornton LLP in Halifax for three years in the assurance service line and recently moved to the Kentville office where she has been a member of the tax department for the past two years.  Mallory’s role involves providing compliance services for individuals, trusts and corporations as well undergoing tax planning for privately held businesses.

Grant MacDonald is a well-known leadership advisor and coach to non-profit organizations. He retired in 2016 as a professor of non-profit leadership and organizational behaviour at Dalhousie University. His interests include advocating for stronger non-profit organizations and improved non-profit-government relationships and public policy. Grant has published more than two-dozen practical governance guides and writes regularly about non-profit leadership on his blog Recent clients have included the Dartmouth Learning Network, The Nova Scotia Trails Federation, the Dartmouth Family Centre, The Canadian CED Network, the Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre and the Institute of Corporate Directors. He has served, as Co-chair and Secretary, of the board of the Ecology Action Centre and is currently chair of the board of the Pleasant-Woodside Neighbourhood Association in Dartmouth. Grant was born and went to school in Saint John, N.B. He and his spouse Susan have two grown daughters and 5-year old border collie, Gracie.

Earl MacLeod, CPA, CA is a Partner with MNP LLP in Dartmouth. He has experience with a wide variety of clients dealing in business advisory and tax services including corporate reorganizations, estate and succession planning, international taxation, and personal, corporate and trust tax planning. Earl has authored numerous articles for business publications and has been involved as a speaker/presenter for CPANS PD courses, the Atlantic Provinces Tax Conference, STEP Atlantic, and other various organizations.

Doreen Malone, CPA, CA, CFP is a Sr. Private Banker with BMO Private Banking with a background in both the private and not for profit sectors. In her current role, she provides integrated and customized financial solutions to a portfolio of borrowing and non -borrowing Platinum Banking clients. She specializes in working with financially successful Canadian families to help them achieve their goals. Prior to joining BMO Private Banking, she was a Financial Planner with Assante Capital Management and the General Manager of Neptune Theatre for 11 years. Before that she was the Director of Finance & Operations for Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown and a Senior Manager at Grant Thornton. Doreen is a graduate of St. Mary’s University and of an Executive Leadership Course at Harvard University’s John Kennedy School of Government.

Craig Maloney, MBA, CPA, CA, CBV is a Partner at MNP LLP. Craig is heavily involved in servicing owner-managed businesses and professionals. He specializes in business valuation and providing strategic business advice and corporate finance advice on M&A transactions and has developed a particular expertise in private company divestitures. He has industry and functional experience in leveraged buyouts, capital raising, divestitures and acquisitions. Craig has also provided strategic advisory services and pricing analysis for various companies. Craig has unique past experience working with a private window and door manufacturing company in London, Ontario in both sales and materials management roles. Prior to joining MNP and its predecessor firm, WBLI, Craig worked for Deloitte & Touche Corporate Finance and also worked for Ernst & Young in both corporate finance and audit roles, both in Toronto, Ontario.

Tinaye K. Manyimo is the owner of  Shumba Consulting a small business of diversity based in Halifax Nova Scotia whose mission, with a core lens of  diversity and inclusion, is to work with businesses, organizations and groups to develop and deliver engaging and impactful workplace education and management solutions. He believes that in our communities and todays workplace continuous education, training and policies that focus on diversity and inclusion awareness are essential for courageous organizations. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Organizational Behavior and Industrial Relations as well as a Bachelor of Arts and Community Studies from Cape Breton University. In addition he attained a Certificate in Adult Education and a Certificate in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Dalhousie University. His journey as a Diversity and Inclusion practitioner has been facilitated through successful past occupations in student/human rights advocacy, retail, finance, government and post-secondary education. He is currently a member of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion as an Individual Practitioner and is a Canadian Certified Inclusion Professional (CCIP). As a Human Rights advocate, educator and lifelong learner Tinaye’s goal is to courageously facilitate through collaboration, both the transfer of knowledge and practice of Diversity and Inclusion in the work place and our community.

Ruth March, CPA, CA, TEP. is a Director of Estate Planning with KPMG in Halifax.  She joined KMPG after graduating from Mount Allison University in 1983.  She is responsible for tax planning for a diverse clientele, with an understanding of the income tax issues relating to owner-managed businesses, estates and trusts. During 2000-2001 Ruth worked with Maritime Life as an Estate and Tax Planning consultant. She has been a tutorial leader of CICA (now CPA Canada) tax courses and a lecturer for the Canadian Tax Foundation. Ruth is a past Chair of STEP Canada and a past governor of the Canadian Tax Foundation.  She has served as treasurer of Symphony Nova Scotia and the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia.

Arun Mathur, FCPA, FCA is Partner at Gerald Duthie & Co. LLP, where he provides professional services to a diverse group of clients. Arun is also Owner and Lead Instructor at UltimQuest Knowledge Inc., offering corporate training on improving governance, ethics, internal control, performance measurement and related topics. He provides live and online training through CPA bodies across Canada and Bermuda. Arun served for several years on the Board for HealthForce Ontario Marketing and Recruitment Agency, and was also Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee there and for the Trillium Gift of Life Network. He has served on the CMA Ontario's Review Committee prior to the merger as well. More info can be found at:

Erica McCurdy, CPA, CA is a Senior Manager at Deloitte in Halifax.  Since starting with the firm in 2009, Erica has provided assurance and advisory services to a variety of clients and industries including real estate, construction and manufacturing with a focus on private, not-for-profit and government entities. Erica has significant experience with Accounting Standards for Private Enterprises, Accounting Standards for Not-for-Profit Organizations and Public Sector Accounting Standards and regularly presents at both internal and external learning events on these topics.

Derrick McEachern, M.Ed., RCT, CCC, is a Registered Counselling Therapist (RCT) and a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC.)  Prior to counselling, Derrick earned a Bachelor of Education and taught at international schools in Hong Kong for 6 years. He earned a Masters of Education in Counselling and a diploma in Adult Learning and has been practicing as a therapist since 2006. Derrick is the founder and owner of Five Star Wellbeing Counselling and Coaching, offering individual and couples counselling, career coaching and wellbeing and mental health seminars. His offices are located in New Minas and Bedford, Nova Scotia, He has developed wellbeing workshops for educators, administrators, counsellors, funeral services professionals and corporate teams. For the past 10 years, Derrick has volunteered in many capacities in his community; coaching softball and hockey as well as volunteering in Nova Scotia prisons. Derrick has developed a wellbeing assessment tool that fosters a preventative approach to mental health and the broader aspects of overall wellbeing. An experienced presenter on the topic of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Derrick has led workshops for mental health and career service professionals at The Canadian Counselling Association National Conference, and CANNEXUS, (Canada’s National Career Development Conference). He lives in the Annapolis Valley with his partner, Sheila, and his two children.

Justin Melnyk, CPA, CA is a Senior Advisor to the Controller with the NS Department of Finance and Treasury Board. He is accountable to provide expert accounting advice and consulting services on complex corporate accounting and financial issues to all organizations within the consolidated entity, as well as sound financial reporting which is compliant with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Since joining the Province in 2014, Justin has presented several Public Sector Accounting Standard (PSAS) updates and/or refreshers to other departmental management and has also been directly involved in many communications between the Province and the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) regarding new and upcoming standards. Prior to this, Justin worked with KPMG in Halifax for over 7 years; two of which were spent in Melbourne, Australia on secondment.

Alida Mitchell, CPA, CA began her career in public practice in South Africa in 1998 and began working with a Canadian practice in 2003, earning her designation in 2005.  She has extensive audit and accounting experience with clients ranging from not-for-profit organizations to tech start-ups to large global corporations and is responsible for managing a majority of the Firm’s audits. Alida is a Standards Reviewer for the Chartered Professional Accountants of Nova Scotia, ensuring Practices adhere to Accounting and Assurance Standards in Nova Scotia.

Gerard Murphy is the President of Barefoot Facilitation Inc.  He provides facilitation, training and consulting services to clients within the voluntary, public and private sectors across Canada.  A naturally fun, dynamic and engaging facilitator, Gerard is passionate about creating space for people to engage in conversations that count.  He is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Performance at Dalhousie University and he holds certificates in public participation, community-based development and leadership development.  Gerard is a member of the International Association of Facilitators and is a confirmed Professional Member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

Jennifer Nicholson, CPA, CA is a dynamic financial professional with over 25 years of experience in public practice, academia, government and industry.  Jen is currently serving on the Board of the Nova Scotia Utilities and Review Board. Jen is the co-host of CPA Canada’s podcast series “CPA Success Podcast.” Jen brings to the classroom a broad skill set and experience in all key facets of an organization including operations management, strategic planning, business development, finance, accounting, investor relations, human resources, and project management. Jen has a passion for making finance more attainable, whether it’s working to articulate strategy in a financial context, bringing clarity to financial communication or teaching accounting to university students.  Jen’s career epitomizes the diverse experiences and roles that CPAs play in industry – from financial to operational leadership. 

Richard Niedermayer, TEP is a partner in the Halifax office of Stewart McKelvey. His practice involves all aspects of tax and estate planning, estate and trust administration, and corporate law. His clients include owner-managed and family businesses, individuals and trust companies. Richard is a Past Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s Nova Scotia and National Wills, Estates and Trusts Sections, a Past Chair of the Atlantic Canada Branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and currently serves on STEP Canada’s Board of Directors as National Secretary. He is also a member of the Canadian Tax Foundation and the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, and a former President of the Halifax Estate Planning Council. Richard is listed by Best Lawyers for Trusts and Estates and Corporate Law, by Lexpert for Estate and Personal Tax Planning/Estate Litigation, and by Who’s Who Legal Canada for Private Client. He holds a BV Distinguished peer reviewed rating from Martindale Hubbell and the TEP designation from STEP. Richard is a frequent writer and speaker on estate, tax and business succession topics.

Jamie O'Neill is an experienced organizational and business consultant and Partner of Uprise Consulting.  With over 20 years of business consulting and training experience, she is known as an energetic self-starter with excellent team development and leadership skills.  A graduate of the Business Administration Degree from Acadia University and Leadership Management Graduate Degree from Royal Roads University, Jamie has the unique ability to provide innovative and insightful solutions for leaders within organizations, connecting ideas and actions in order to deliver measurable results.  Outside the office, Jamie is an active recreational hockey player, a basketball coach for young girls and loves spending time with her two young children, Jordyn and Nate.

John Oakey, CPA, CA, TEP, CC qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2001 with a National firm in Kentville, Nova Scotia after completing a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Saint Mary’s University in 1997.  He joined the firm’s tax group in 2001.  Since then he has completed all three Canadian Institute Chartered Accountants in-depth tax courses; as well as, the CICA Advanced Tax Issues for the Owner-Managed business.  He became Tax Partner in 2008 and in 2011 started up the Atlantic Region US Tax Group focusing on US Citizen and US/Canada cross border tax issues.  He managed the Dartmouth tax group until 2017 and became the National Tax Director for Baker Tilly Canada in 2019. He has widespread knowledge and expertise in the area of corporate and personal income taxes specializing in the area of corporate reorganizations, estate planning, succession planning and tax compliance.  He also has significant experience dealing with US Citizen cross border tax reporting issues and Harmonized Sales Tax.  John was also a part-time Professor of Taxation with St. Mary’s University located in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Kelly Pagnottella, CPA received her designation in 2017 specializing in the assurance and tax electives. She has worked at Grant Thornton LLP in Halifax since 2014, starting in the assurance service line and later transitioning to tax at which time she enrolled in and began the CPA In-Depth Tax Course. Kelly provides tax services to a range of clients but primarily provides compliance and tax planning services for private corporations.

Eileen Pease, M.Ed., CHRP, Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) works with people to develop their ability to enhance their full brain power at work so they can be fully engaged, measurably more productive, and happier.  As an expert on the brain at work, Eileen helps key people learn faster, remember longer, turn stress into opportunity, improve their relationships, and keep their brains in top condition.  Her book - Get More Power from Your Brain — shows readers how to tune-up their most powerful asset. Her website provides support to her clients who want to get the most power from their precious brains.

Andrew Plant, CPA, CA is a senior tax manager with Grant Thornton in their Halifax office. He has more than 8 years of experience focused on personal and corporate tax compliance and planning. Andrew is also experienced in personal cross border tax, SR&ED and tax incentives, and US corporate and partnership tax. Andrew completed the CPA Canada’s in-depth tax program in 2016 and is a graduate of Saint Mary’s University.

Mike Power, CPA, CA is a tax partner with KPMG Halifax with over 27 years of tax consulting experience. Mike concentrates on corporate taxation including the reorganization of companies, purchases & sales of businesses, estate planning and corporate tax planning for private companies and their shareholders.

Stephen Priddle, CPA, CA, CMA worked with KPMG for five years, then moved to industry and has worked for several businesses, including public and private companies. During this time, he has obtained a wide range of financial reporting, treasury management, merger & acquisition and other business experience. He is currently the VP, Finance and Corporate Secretary of SureWx Inc., as well as a member of the Board of Directors. Stephen has extensive experience in creating and teaching professional development and other courses for different provincial institutes and has taught at the University of Toronto and Carleton University, as well as in the CMA and CGA programs. He is also a prolific author of published cases.

Harrison Robbins, FCPA, FCA is the Senior Financial Advisor and provides financial planning advice on Pensions, Retirement and Estate Planning. With 40 years of industry experience and a former VP of Pensions for Maritime Life he brings extensive knowledge to this material. His style is to ensure you know all aspects of IPPs in a clear and easy to understand way. He is or has been a member of numerous industry groups including: CPBI, ACPM & CLHIA. He has been involved with many IPPs and brings firsthand experience to this topic.

Tammy Robertson, MA has over 25 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience working with CPA’s across Canada. She believes that the essence of our challenge today is captured in one simple message, “Get Your Heart in the Game™!” As a leadership coach, author, and professional speaker she brings a keen understanding to her consulting work with leaders in public practice, non-profit and industry. Her message inspires and challenges you to step into your Best Life -- to be purposeful and passionate -- to slow down -- to get a grip, tune in and have faith.

Jeffrey D. Sherman is CEO of Terragram Investments Ltd. and has over 25 years’ experience as a corporate director and executive in real estate, high tech, biotechnology/medical, financial services, and business services. From 2012 to 2017, he was CFO of Atrium Mortgage Investment Corporation (TSX: AI) where he helped take the company public and grow its assets from $180 million to over $600 million. Mr. Sherman is a popular presenter, and a frequent course director and course author for many organizations including provincial associations of chartered professional accountants across Canada and has written many magazine articles and over twenty books including: Canadian Cash and Treasury Management, and Financial Instruments: A Guide for Financial Managers (published by Thomson-Reuters/Carswell), as well as Finance and Accounting PolicyPro (guide to governance, procedures, and internal control), and Strategy and Planning Toolkit for Small and Medium Businesses (all published or co-published by CPA Canada).  Mr. Sherman has a B.Comm from Rotman Commerce (University of Toronto) and an M.B.A. from the Schulich School of Business and is an FCPA, FCA (Ontario).

Isabelle St-Jean is a Registered Social Worker, Professional Certified Coach with International Coach Federation accreditation, a Certified Retirement Coach, and a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor.  She is also the author of Living Forward Giving Back: A Practical Guide to Fulfilment in Midlife and Beyond. Since 2009, she has led seminars for professionals, coast to coast and internationally and has provided consulting, counselling and coaching to numerous individuals and executives helping them with their workplace or personal challenges, career management or retirement transition.  She is the initiator and co-author of two award-winning anthologies:  Einstein’s Business: Engaging Soul, Imagination and Excellence in the Workplace and Audacious Aging.  As a member of the BC Human Resources Management Association, Isabelle is a regular contributor to their magazine PeopleTalk.

Ian Stanley, CPA, CA, is a partner specializing in audit and assurance at Baker Tilly Nova Scotia. Ian graduated from Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia in 1998 and obtained his Chartered Professional Accountant (CA) designation in 2000 with a national firm based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 2001, he became the Controller for a mid-size manufacturing and construction company for four years, progressing to Chief Financial Officer for six years before returning to public practice in 2011. Ian has been a partner at Baker Tilly since 2012 and is the Treasure of Dartmouth Adult Service Centre (DASC).

David Strong, CPA, CA is a Dalhousie University graduate, and has been in public practice for over 20 years. David operates his own practice with his wife (a chartered business valuator), four other professionals, and one (semi-professional) golden doodle, Molly. David’s practice has a wide range of clients in many different industries; for whom the firm conducts audits, reviews, compilations, tax, business valuations and related services.

Christopher Sullivan, CPA, CA has spent most of his 22-year accounting career as a tax specialist with large international accounting firms where he served clients in a wide range of industries. In 2015 Chris founded a boutique tax practice focused on serving current and former business owners, estates and trusts, and other independent CPA practices. Chris has completed CPA Canada’s In-Depth Tax Course and CPA Canada’s Advanced Tax Issues for the Owner-Managed Business. Chris has also been a tutorial leader for CPA Canada’s In-Depth Tax Course and presented at Canadian Tax Foundation events including the Atlantic Provinces Tax Conference.

Jon Tattrie is an award-winning journalist and author. He teaches non-fiction writing at the University of King’s College and creative writing at Dalhousie University. Jon has written seven books, ranging from literary fiction to travel to biography. Two of his better-known works are Cornwallis: The Violent Birth of Halifax and The Hermit of Africville. His most recent is Daniel Paul: Mi’kmaq Elder. Jon has been the Writing Trainer for Dynamic Learning Inc. since 2012. His evaluations are consistently excellent, and students praise his ability to connect his vast writing knowledge to their particular writing challenges. He excels at gathering information from several sources and writing concise, accurate reports to meet tight deadlines. He will show you how to do it. Jon has an honours BA from Dalhousie University and a diploma in journalism from Edinburgh College, Edinburgh, U.K. He is currently earning his MFA in Creative Nonfiction at King’s.

Lisa Tilley is a Partner with Uprise Consulting. She is a graduate of Dalhousie University and has more than thirty years of experience working within the areas of Training and Development, Management and Leadership Coaching, Strategic Planning, Succession Planning and Talent Management. As a former award winning national and international elite athlete and coach, Lisa has been able to combine that insight and experience to drive performance success within the business world. As a certified coach and graduate of the Executive Leadership Training program with the University of Notre Dame, she applies her varied experience in organizational and business strategy to develop the leaders we need to support organizations who value their people development and performance.

David Trahair, CPA, CA, is a personal finance writer, trainer, speaker and eLearning developer. His books include Smoke and Mirrors: Financial Myths That Will Ruin Your Retirement Dreams, Enough Bull: How to Retire Well Without the Stock Market, Mutual Funds or Even an Investment Advisor, Crushing Debt: Why Canadians Should Drop Everything and Pay Off Debt, Cash Cows, Pigs and Jackpots: The Simplest Personal Finance Strategy Ever and his latest The Procrastinator’s Guide to Retirement: How You Can Retire in 10 Years or Less.  His views are totally independent because he does not sell any financial products. He currently operates his own personal finance training and eLearning development firm and offers seminars on his books to organizations including CPA provincial bodies across Canada.

Chris Trenaman, CPA, CA is an assurance principal with Grant Thornton's Halifax office with 15 years of public accounting experience. He is responsible for the provision of audit and advisory services for a wide variety of the firm's clients, with emphasis on not-for-profit organizations and pension plans.

Jane Veldhoven, CPO® (Certified Professional Organizer) and founder of Get Organized by Design was honored with the 2014 Professional Organizers in Canada Harold Taylor Award for dedication to her industry and is a true leader in Canada. For the past fifteen years she has been working with busy professionals to help them manage their time and tasks to achieve their goals. Jane has a great affinity with accountants and business owners alike and has a deep understanding for the challenges associated with a billable hour environment. She helps her clients spend more time on revenue generating activities by introducing concepts, systems and processes for maximum productivity. She also enjoys helping her clients get organized at home whether it’s decluttering their space, designing and building storage solutions, renovating their home or moving to a new home.

Mara Vizzutti B.Ed, MA, is a seasoned facilitator and a certified executive coach. Originally from western Canada, Mara has been working in the field of leadership development since 1996. For over 20 years, she has been facilitating high caliber trainings to audiences of senior executives, supervisors and front-line employees in diverse industries. During the course of her career, she has completed numerous training programs including a Master’s degree in Organizational Development and Leadership. Prior to her facilitation career, Mara enjoyed a successful career in sales and management. Mara’s areas of expertise include team building, leadership development, transformational coaching and effective communication systems. Mara works with organizations to improve engagement showing leaders how to communicate effectively and successfully develop their future leaders. She is committed to creating more collaborative, inspiring work environments where people feel engaged. Her goal is to transform the process of business communications and to facilitate collaboration and healthy relationships in the workplace.

Angela Walker, LLB is a partner with the Halifax law firm of McGinty Doucet Walker (MDW) Law and practices primarily in the area of family law. She has a particular interest in the financial aspects of separation and divorce as they relate to the division of matrimonial property and determination of income for support purposes. Ms. Walker is a trained mediator and collaborative family lawyer.

Scott Weatherby, CPA, CA is currently semi-retired and a part-time business consultant.  Up until January 2019 he was the Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary of Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited (TSX: NCC.A, NCC.B) which operated Newcap Radio, one of Canada’s leading radio broadcasters with over 100 licences across Canada, including the local radio stations Q104 and 96.5. Scott was an integral part of the $0.5 billion public takeover of NCC by Stingray (RAY.A, RAY.B) which finalized October 2018.   He was with the Company for over 18 years and was responsible for public reporting, corporate finance, treasury, corporate taxation and investor relations. He was also a key member of the Company’s strategic M&A team having been involved in numerous business acquisitions, divestitures and a subsidiary's IPO.  Prior to joining Newcap, Scott spent ten years with Grant Thornton LLP, having various auditing and advisory roles as well as spending three years in the Firm’s National Human Resource Department with professional development, teaching and course development responsibilities.

Bill Wesioly, CPA, CMA is a Risk Management consultant and Leadership coach.  His goal is to enrich the effectiveness of people and organizations, doing so with both skill and heart. He currently teaches Risk Management with CPA Ontario, CPA B.C., CPA Alberta, CPA Newfoundland and the Centre of Outsourcing Research and Education (CORE).  Previously he worked in various Risk Management leadership roles, first with BMO and then RBC. He also teaches Leadership and Effective Speaking courses for CPA Ontario.  He previously instructed Dale Carnegie and CMA Ontario’s Strategic Leadership Program and is also a certified coach through the Adler Coaching program.  His recent consulting assignments: Auto Workers Community Credit Union in Oshawa, Buduchnist Credit Union in Toronto, Hillfield Strathallan College in Hamilton, Shape Process Automation in Burlington, Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance in Toronto, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Canada - Great Lakes Region in Toronto and the Ktunaxa First Nations Council in Cranbrook, B.C.

Kevin Yuill, CPA, CA is a Tax Partner at BDO LLP in Halifax and leads their tax practice. He has sixteen years of experience in public accounting firms, including two of the “big four”. He has a broad range of experience managing Canadian corporate, personal, and trust taxation compliance and planning requirements for both privately held and publicly traded companies as well as tax planning for owner managed businesses.  In addition to presenting various topics at CPA-NS, Kevin has taught the CICA’s In Depth Tax Course, been involved with the Atlantic School of Chartered Accountancy, and lecturer at the CTF’s Atlantic Tax Conference.