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 had 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 had imparted the courses of Cloud Computing I and II, Google Apps for Business, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Advanced Excel. And provided different workshops like Google Drive for Business, Google Analytics, Evernote, Internet Security, Team Viewer.

Amanda Avery, CPA, CA is the Internal Auditor for the 13 NSCC Campuses and former Assurance Manager at Grant Thornton LLP. Amanda has been concentrating on audit and assurance for over six years focusing on a variety of Not-For-Profit, Public Sector and First Nations clients. Amanda is equally comfortable giving business advice too small to mid-sized owner-managed organizations as well as large government entities. 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.

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.

Jeff Christian, CPA, CA is a 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 eff 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), MBA is a many-time corporate director, CFO, author, speaker, educator, innovator, 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 to experiment with theories and practices developed both in the academic and real world.  He then shares these 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.

Linda Daley, BBA helps business owners and independent professionals turn their online marketing strategies into practical results, connecting the dots between planning and doing. She's an avid business blogger with 575+ posts, and her blog - Work Better, Not Harder - has been touted by Search Engine Journal as one of the "Best Marketing Blogs of Canada". Linda's career spans 25 years in operations and logistics, and she has been a business owner and consultant since 2005. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a Supervisory Studies Certificate.

Melinda Fleming is a Senior Manager with Grant Thornton LLP specializing in sales taxes.  She works with a variety of clients throughout Canada. Melinda has close to 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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 currently the 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.

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 20 years of leadership experience in public practice, academia and industry.  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 and 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. 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 and tax 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 when he became the National Tax Director for Baker Tilly Canada. 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.

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.

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.

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 21-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.

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.

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.

Scott Weatherby, CPA, CA is currently semi-retired and a part-time consultant.  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. 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. His career cumulated with the sale of the entire business in 2018 for $0.5 billion.  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.