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Women Who Lead: Acquisitions, Transformations and IPOs, the Women Behind Canada’s Biggest Moves

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

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Despite the uncertainties of the past year, Canada’s business and finance landscape has been marked by transformative moves. Meet the women behind the biggest tech IPO of 2021, the acquisition of one of Canada’s most innovative exchanges, and the strategic transformation of Canada’s largest specialty toy and book store.

headshot of Lori-Ann Beausoleil

Lori-Ann Beausoleil

Retired Deals and Advisory Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Lori-Ann Beausoleil is a recently retired senior partner from PwC where she led the national Ethics, Compliance and Governance practice focusing on regulatory compliance, ethical business conduct and governance and was a Real Estate Advisory Partner. She brings over 36 years of risk, governance, financial, operational and regulatory experience to the Boards she serves on.

She is currently a Board Director for a variety of organizations in both Canada and the US. She serves on Boards that are listed on the TSX60, TSX and NYSE, as well as private entities such as Neo Exchange. She is also passionate about education and is a member of the Dean’s Council at the Ted Rogers School of Business and is the Chair of the Accounting Program at George Brown College. She is also a member of the Advisory Board for the Mentorship Program at Women Get on Board. Lori was recently recognized by Directors&Boards as a “Director to Watch in 2022.”

She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto and is a member of the Canadian Chartered Professional Accountants and is a Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant of Ontario.

headshot of Sarah Jordan

Sarah Jordan

CEO, Mastermind Toys

Sarah Jordan is CEO of Mastermind Toys, the nation’s largest specialty toy and kids book store and Canada’s Authority on Play. She leads 69 stores coast-to-coast and online, with thousands of employees from teams across stores, Play HQ (head office) and warehouse, and creates a world-class employee and customer experience. In 2020, Mastermind Toys was named The Most Innovative Retailer of the Year, and Sarah was recognized as a Global Influencer in Customer Experience. In 2021, Mastermind Toys won the Omni Channel Award at Retail Council of Canada’s Excellence in Retail Awards for their digital transformation and Sarah received the Innovation Award at the Women of Inspiration Awards by the Universal Womens Network.

Sarah is a passionate, authentic, purpose-driven CEO with deep expertise in customer & employee experience, digital innovation and brand-centric reinvention. Previously she was the Senior Vice President, Customer Experience and Omni Channel Strategy at Scotiabank where she led the bank from #5 to #1 in customer experience ratings. She spent a decade with Boston Consulting Group, where she advised Fortune 500 companies on large scale retail customer centric transformations and cultural change. Sarah holds both an MBA and an Engineering degree from Queen’s University.

She is a board member at Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, the largest Canadian Property and Casualty Mutual Insurer with $4.2 billion in annual revenue, and assets of $11.3 billion, and 125 year heritage. She is also a board member at the Canadian Toy Association, the first-ever retail member in the organization’s history whose members include manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers in the $2.5 billion toy industry in Canada. She is also a board member at the Retail Council of Canada, the voice of retail in Canada, representing 45,000 store fronts, $485 billion in sales and 2.2 million employees.

headshot of Vanessa Kanu

Vanessa Kanu

Chief Financial Officer, TELUS International

Vanessa Kanu joined TELUS International, a customer experience (CX) innovator that designs, builds and delivers next-gen digital solutions for more than 600 top global brands, as chief financial officer in September 2020, supporting more than 350 global team members and leading the organization’s financial operations. Less than six months after joining the company, Vanessa helped lead TELUS International’s public debut on both the New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges, becoming the largest tech IPO in the history of the latter.

Vanessa is a highly accomplished finance leader with both Chartered Accountant and Certified Public Accountant designations, and more than 20 years of progressive experience within complex, multi-national, publicly-traded environments. Prior to joining TELUS International, she served as CFO of Mitel, a technology firm with $1.1B USD in annual revenues operating in 90 countries. She has also held roles in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ assurance and business advisory practice.

Vanessa has been recognized for multiple leadership awards over the span of her career. In addition to her most recent 2021 CFO of the Year award from the Best Ottawa Business Awards, Vanessa was a finalist for the Ottawa Businesswoman of the Year Award, in the Organization category. She was also recognized with a Top 40 under 40 Business Award by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and Ottawa Business Journal. Vanessa is a regular contributor to the International Women’s Forum (IWF), and she serves on the Board of Thorn, an international anti-human trafficking organization founded by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore that works to address the sexual exploitation of children. She was also recently appointed to the Board of Directors for Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading international financial services provider, as part of the Board’s Audit Committee and Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee. As a long-time resident of Ottawa, Vanessa is also involved in her local community, volunteering with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, and serves on the Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s Board of Directors and its Finance and Audit Committees.

headshot of Rita Trichur

Rita Trichur

Senior Business Writer and Columnist, The Globe and Mail

Rita Trichur is an award-winning journalist. She is a senior business writer and columnist with The Globe and Mail. She previously served as the newspaper’s Financial Services Editor.

Rita returned to The Globe in July 2016 after spending about 2 ½ years as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. She primarily covered Canadian banks and insurance companies from Toronto, but also wrote a variety of other stories for the U.S. newspaper. Prior to The Wall Street Journal, Rita spent more than three years at The Globe, initially working as a general assignment reporter in the Report on Business before covering the telecom beat. Rita has also covered financial services and economics for the Toronto Star, and has held various roles at the Canadian Press and the Ottawa Sun. She got her first byline at age 6 when the Toronto Star published her short story about a fish-stealing cat and paid her $10.

She has a Bachelor of Journalism and Political Science and a M.A. in Canadian Studies – both from Carleton University in Ottawa.