Graduate Success Stories

Catherine Bell

Catherine Bell, MBA
Calgary, AB

When Catherine entered the Smith's Executive MBA program, she was a Research Associate for a small executive search firm in Calgary and during the program, she became a partner. In 2008, she decided it was time to start her own executive search firm and founded BluEra. Since then, the firm has thrived. It now employs 17 people in offices in Calgary and Toronto and has affiliations with executive search firms in 74 countries. In 2012 and 2014, BluEra was recognized as one of Alberta’s Top Workplaces.

"The Smith EMBA program helped me to improve my blind spots – accounting, finance, and operations, and build upon my strengths. I found the experience to be personally transformational and it has affected all aspects of my life. It gave me the courage to start my own firm and to dive into business problems with a sense of play, inquiry, and possibility."

Martha Bennett

Martha Bennett, MBA
Global Business Director, Consumer Health Care Division
3M Company
St. Paul, Minnesota

When Martha joined the program, she was the Corporate Marketing and Commercialization Manager at 3M Canada. During the program, she was promoted to lead marketing for the Commercial Graphics Division. Shortly after graduation, she was promoted again to Executive Director – Consumer Business Group. She then transferred to the U.S. headquarters as Global Business Manager for Post-it ™ Brand, and was soon promoted to her current position as Global Business Director for the Consumer Health Care Division.

“The Global Business Director role at 3M requires leadership across functions, geographies and complex competitive market realities. Far beyond my core expertise in global brand and portfolio management, the program gave me exposure to all management functions and taught me to think from a truly global perspective. The team format Smith uses developed skills in collaboration and project management far beyond what I would have gleaned in the workplace alone. The personalized and pragmatic approach makes this program very special, and I would recommend it without hesitation.”

Rob Bennett

Rob Bennett, CPA, CGA, MBA
Lead Financial Officer, Global Product Operations
BMO Financial Group
Toronto, ON

When Rob entered the program, he was Head, Finance Advisory Services at RBC Dexia Investor Services. After graduation, he joined Edward Jones Canada as Director, Finance. He subsequently moved to his current position at BMO.

“I chose the Smith's Executive MBA program because of its outstanding reputation, and it surpassed my expectations. It brought together professionals from various disciplines and forged us into effective teams that were able to learn together, problem-solve together and achieve success. The program helped me strengthen my confidence in being able to advise and support business partners in tackling various problems and developing and implementing solutions.”

Rose Bhura

Rose Bhura, MBA
Co-founder and Producer
Parvati Creative Inc.
Vancouver, BC

When Rose entered the program, she had already co-founded Parvati Creative Inc. She wanted to develop and implement a new business model and she used the program’s Individual Management Consulting Project to do exactly that.

“As a wife, mom and business owner, I did not think I would ever have the opportunity to go back to school and complete my MBA. The Smith Executive MBA experience not only made it possible, it has given me much more than a degree. I have come out of the program with a fuller sense of my abilities, learned to be a stronger leader, and gained a depth of understanding in areas that were not as clear before. I am now better able to contribute to my company and industry. The added bonus was the opportunity to work and learn with some of the most talented people across the country.”

Jeremy Chan

Jeremy Chan, B.B.A., LL.B., MBA
Senior Counsel
Methanex Corporation
Vancouver, BC

When Jeremy started the Smith’s Executive MBA program, he was practising law in the Vancouver office of a large national law firm. While in the program, he was offered the position of Corporate Counsel at Vancouver-based Methanex Corporation. He now manages the company’s legal affairs in the Americas and Asia Pacific regions, particularly in the areas of marketing, logistics and business development.

"The integration and utility of the business skills I learned in Queen’s Executive MBA have been tremendous in my new role. I have used what I learned in courses such as Global Business Strategy, Financial Management, Negotiations & Conflict Management, and Creating High-Performance Teams on an almost daily basis. The program definitely exceeded my expectations."

Adam Cooney

Adam Cooney, MBA
Executive Vice President, Cooney Transportation Group
President, Cooney Logistics
Belleville, ON

Prior to joining the Smith Executive MBA program, Adam was Operations Manager for Cooney Transport Group, a family-owned business. The program represented a key element in succession planning for the organization. After graduation, he became Executive Vice President of the Group and President of Cooney Logistics, a new business that he started within the Group.

"The program gave me an edge in my day-to-day business dealings and ultimately boosted my confidence to take my family business to the next level. I loved the videoconference technology. It felt as if you were right there in the front row of the class, and the professor– student interaction was wonderful. This program is not for the faint of heart, but I couldn’t imagine where I would be today without it."

Denise David

Denise David, MBA
Director of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance
LEO Pharma Canada
Toronto, ON

When Denise started the Smith Executive MBA program, she was Regulatory Affairs Manager at Ferring Pharmaceuticals, an international, research-driven biopharmaceutical company. Upon completion of the program, she was promoted to Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs, a position that had her more involved in corporate strategy. She recently left Ferring to join LEO Pharma.

"Smith’s Executive MBA gave me the business background that I had lacked, and made it possible for me to take on my new role. For me personally, the highlight of the program was working with colleagues from diverse career backgrounds and learning from their experiences."

Gianni (John) de Francesco

Gianni (John) de Francesco, MBA
Federal Lead, Indigenous Languages Legislation
Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development Canada
Ottawa, ON

Prior to entering the program, John was the Senior Director, Professional and Institutional Development with Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development Canada. After completing the program, he was appointed to Regional Director General, Manitoba. He is now Federal Lead, Indigenous Languages Legislation, in Ottawa.

“I chose Smith because I wanted to be part of a business school that had a history of excellence. The program literally changed the way I approach issues and look for solutions and significantly increased my self-confidence. As well, my world view and how I articulate it has become much clearer. The support from the faculty and staff was incredible - responsive, caring and extremely helpful."

Elfreda Pitt Hetherington

Elfreda Pitt Hetherington, MBA
Senior Director, Innovation Strategy & Operations
Toronto, ON

When Elfreda entered the program, she was Manager, Workplace Innovation, Corporate Real Estate at RBC. During the program, she was promoted to Director, Applied Innovation &Development and, upon graduation, she was promoted again to Senior Director, Innovation Strategy & Operations.

“Enrolling in the Smith Executive MBA program was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It allowed me to stretch my strategic and leadership capabilities. I don’t think my career progression would have occurred at the same pace without the Queen’s experience and skills I was able to hone while in the program.”

John Kump

John Kump, MBA
Chief Administration Officer
Ledcor Group of companies
Vancouver, BC

When John entered the program he was Senior Vice President, Finance for Ledcor. Upon completion of the program he was promoted to Chief Administration Officer and his role was expanded to include Human Resources, IT and Strategic Sourcing.

“The Smith EMBA program gave me a significant boost in confidence, especially at the leadership table. The network of peers was remarkable and, by the end of the program, I was already doing business with some of my classmates. Smith has really thought of everything to make this program an outstanding experience. I would definitely recommend it.”

Bernard Leduc

Bernard Leduc, MD, MBA
President and CEO
Hôpital Montfort
Ottawa, ON

When Bernard entered the Smith’s Executive MBA program, he was working both as a family physician, and as Chief of Staff, the most senior medical administrative position at Hôpital Montfort. During the program he applied for the position of President and CEO of the hospital, a position he assumed upon graduation.

"Smith’s Executive MBA provided me with the knowledge, management tools and frameworks that are so important at this executive level. It gave me confidence and a clear sense of direction in order to address the complexity of hospital administration. It also provided me with a systematic approach for addressing issues on a more strategic level."

David LeMay

David LeMay, MBA
President and CEO
Stuart Olson Inc.
Calgary, AB

David entered the program as President and COO of Laird Electric Inc., one of five independent operating companies of The Churchill Corporation. During the program, he was promoted to President of the Churchill Services Group, a newly formed management company overseeing the industrial operating companies within the Churchill Corporation. He recently took on the role of President and CEO at Stuart Olson Inc. in Calgary.

"One of the best features of the program was the diverse group of individuals and representative industries within our cohort. This blend of senior executives and managers from across the country brought their own unique experiences to the classroom every session. These experiences allowed me to reflect on the application of processes in our business and how some of the best practices from other sectors can be successfully applied to create value."

Dawn de Lima

Dawn de Lima, MBA
Chief Administration Officer
Calgary, AB

When she started the Smith Executive MBA program, Dawn was Vice President, Corporate Human Resources with TransAlta. During the program, she was appointed Vice President, Supply Chain Management. After graduating, she was named Chief Human Resources Officer, and subsequently Chief Human Resources and Communications Officer. She is now the Chief Administrative Officer.

"I decided to earn an MBA to broaden my business knowledge and advance my career. I chose Smith because, in my opinion, it is the best executive MBA program in Canada. The team-based format and the quality of my classmates really provided an amazing opportunity for peer-to-peer learning. The program equipped me with the ability to take an integrated approach to management. I would have no hesitation recommending this program."

Frank Lin

Frank Lin, MBA
Chief Technology Officer/Chief Operating Officer
DMD Marketing Corp.
Chicago, IL

When Frank started the program he was the Vice President of Technology for Indegene, a Montreal-based supplier to global healthcare organizations. Upon completing the program he was promoted to Vice President of Global Business Development, and then to Vice President of Product & Technology. He has since relocated to Chicago with DMD Marketing.

“Before the program, I was mainly focused on technology management.Through the MBA curriculum and the credibility of the Smith program, I was able to shift my career successfully, first to a global business development role, and now to a general management role for a fast growing technology start-up in Chicago. The program provided a great experience and a network that spans the country and I would absolutely recommend it.”

Mac Logan

Mac Logan, MBA
General Manager of Transportation
City of Calgary
Calgary, AB

When Mac entered the program, he was Director of the Roads Business Unit at The City of Calgary. During the program, he moved from Roads to the Transportation Infrastructure business unit. A year after graduation, he was promoted to his current position.

“I went into the program with very specific goals to increase my knowledge of finance and accounting. I now have the ability to ‘talk the same language’ as my finance colleagues, and this has been a tremendous asset at work. To anyone considering this program, I would say you will be inspired. Your classmates will be amazing people that surprise and impress you with their knowledge and insights. You will learn as much from them as the first-class professors.”

Mike MacSween

Mike MacSween, MBA
Executive Vice President – Major Projects
Suncor Energy Inc.
Calgary, AB

Prior to joining Smith's Executive MBA program, Mike was Director, Upgrading Process Engineering with Suncor Energy. Following graduation, Mike accepted the role of Vice President - Strategy, and Development.

"The program curriculum provides a solid foundation for success in executive leadership roles, through its thorough coverage of core business concepts, balanced with real-life experience and cutting-edge practices. The team-based learning approach was also a highlight for me. Working with a group of high-quality professional was intellectually stimulating and pushed me to a higher personal capacity."

Steven Maynard

Steven Maynard, MBA
Global client Service partner
Halifax, NS

When Steven entered the program, he was Vice President, Advisory for EY. He was promoted to Partner shortly after graduation and has held various roles since then, including Canadian Data Analytics Leader.

“Completing the program taught me a lot about setting priorities and having the discipline to see them through. The quality of the faculty and my classmates was superb and provided both a rich learning environment as well as a lot of fun. I would absolutely recommend this program.”

Sandy McIntosh

Sandy McIntosh, MBA
Executive Vice President, People & Culture and Chief Human Resources Officer
Toronto, ON

Before joining the Smith Executive MBA program, Sandy worked in a variety of HR positions in Ottawa's hi-tech sector. Following graduation, she accepted the position of Vice President, Human Resource Strategy with Telus in Toronto.

"The Smith Executive MBA experience gave me a much deeper understanding of other parts of the business. I was immersed in marketing, finance and other functions from the perspective of a general manager. In my current role at TELUS, I am applying my learning to drive HR strategy that is more connected to the business and contributes to the bottom line of the organization."

Patty McLeod

Patty McLeod, MBA
Associate General Counsel
Western Financial Group
Calgary, AB

When Patty entered the program, she was Associate General Counsel for a regulated transmission utility company in Alberta. Shortly after starting the EMBA, she was promoted to Associate General Counsel and Compliance Officer.

"I chose Smith’s Executive MBA because of the university's strong reputation and because I wanted a national program with a broad exposure to businesses and individuals across Canada. The program was instrumental in building my confidence to take more personal risk for career growth and try new projects. It made me realize that I can do more than I ever thought possible.”

Sonia Montoni

Sonia Montoni, CA, MBA
Director of Finance
Toronto, ON

In July 2012, Sonia moved from Montreal to Toronto and took on the role of Vice-President, Operations Accounting with SmartCentres, Canada’s largest developer and operator of unenclosed shopping centres. The following month, she started the Smith Executive MBA program. Upon graduation, she took on more of a leadership role within her team and across the organization.

“The program has helped me immensely to develop both professionally and personally. I now feel more confident in my dealings with other business professionals. The program undoubtedly expanded my business acumen, enabling me to approach things with a new perspective. Queen’s Executive MBA was a great investment in myself and my career!”

Aleksa Mrdjenovich

Aleksa Mrdjenovich, MBA
Nova Hotels
Edmonton, AB

When Aleksa started the program, she was Vice President at Nova Hotels, a family-owned business. The executive MBA program was intended to prepare her for the next level of management and, upon completion, she moved into the role of President.

“I chose the Smith EMBA program over other options because it was the “total package”. I really enjoyed the holistic approach to personal and professional development. The team approach, breadth of coaching, and the Global Business Project made the Smith program truly unique, and my Management Consulting Project has already paid back my tuition fees many times over."

Nick Nanos

Nick Nanos, MBA
Nanos Research
Ottawa, ON

When Nick entered the program in 2008, he had already founded Nanos Research, a flourishing business that was conducting polling services for top media organizations such as CTV, CBC and The Globe and Mail. Since completing the program, Nanos Research has continued to grow and increase its prominence in the Canadian polling arena.

"When you’re the head of an organization everyone looks to you to lead and it can be lonely. I was looking for an environment that was peer-oriented, where I would be with other people who were going through the same kind of learning process."

Emechete Onuoha

Emechete Onuoha, MBA
Vice President, Global Affairs Canada
Xerox Canada
Toronto, ON

After 12 years in the public sector, Emechete decided to enrol in the Smith Executive MBA program to prepare for a new career in the private sector. While in the program, he accepted a national account management position at Xerox Canada. He soon took on progressively senior roles, including the role of Vice President Citizenship and Government Affairs. He was named to the “Top 100 under 50” by Diversity MBA Magazine and recently received Green Living Enterprise’s “Excellence in Corporate Responsibility” award.

"Smith’s Executive MBA provided a world-class business education and a new set of skills for my professional tool kit. The program helped me develop the business acumen, capabilities and confidence I needed to accelerate my transition from the public to private sector."

Glenda Ouellette

Glenda Ouellette
Vice President, Auto Insurance Division
HUB international
Burnaby, BC

Glenda entered the Smith Executive MBA program as Director, Broker Relations and Sales at the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. While enrolled in the program, she was appointed Acting Vice President, Strategic Marketing.

"I was very impressed with the way I could take what I was learning in the program and apply it immediately in my work. The program was intense and exciting, and prepared me to meet the challenges of a more senior management position."

Bernard Perron

Bernard Perron, MBA
Senior Vice President, Projects and Operations Services
Inter Pipeline
Calgary, AB

Shortly after Bernard started the program, he was promoted from Project Director, Corridor Expansion to General Manager Project Development at Inter Pipeline, overseeing a project portfolio of approximately $2 billion. After that he was promoted again to Vice President, Project Development, overseeing all corporate expansion projects, a project portfolio of close to $3.5 billion. Recently he was promoted again to Senior Vice President,  Projects and Operations Services.

"The Smith EMBA program is a superior education experience. Its reputation, professionalism and faculty are absolutely first rate. The team-based approach was a good reflection of a real work environment and allowed me to strengthen my team leadership skills. I now see myself as a well-rounded leader."

Steve Sousa

Steve Sousa
Chief Commercial Officer
Valard Construction LP
Calgary, AB

Prior to entering the program, Steve had been working for SaskTel International for ten years, and held the position of Executive Vice President. While in the program, he was promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer and, following completion of the program, he was again promoted to Chief Commercial Officer at SaskPower and President and CEO SaskPower International. In 2011, Steve was named one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40.

"I was encouraged to enter the program to strengthen my support within the organization, and the program really delivered. The professional and regional diversity within the class was very impressive, and contributed greatly to the program content and discussions. The professors were exceptional and very accessible at almost any time. This is a great program! "

Josée Touchette

Josée Touchette, MBA
Chief Operating Officer
National Energy Board
Calgary, AB

A lawyer with the federal government for most of her career, Josée saw executive management as the best opportunity to build on her experience and to better contribute to public service. After completing the Smith program, she joined the Department of National Defence as Assistant Deputy Minister of Public Affairs.

"Smith’s Executive MBA is as intense as it is rewarding. The quality of the faculty is exceptional and the comprehensive management skills you acquire through the program prepare you well for real-world challenges. The Executive MBA gave me the confidence to take on a very different job – and to succeed."

Greg Yost

Greg Yost, MBA
Director, Continental Cylinder
COO, Overhead Door Company of Edmonton
Edmonton, AB

Greg entered the program as Vice President, Marketing & Customer Service at OEM Remanufacturing in Edmonton. Prior to the end of the program, he transitioned into the VP Operations role. After two of years in that role, he purchased Continental Cylinder as a turnaround with two other partners. Today, he remains a Director at Continental Cylinder, but is now the Chief Operating Officer at Overhead Door Company of Edmonton.

“I was very impressed with the program’s faculty and staff. The level of professionalism, care for students and attention to detail was remarkable. I am a relatively conservative person and I don’t believe I would have taken the leap to leave a great organization and leverage myself financially to buy a turnaround company without having experienced the Queen’s program and all that it provided.”