April 1, 2020

Clawing Back and Paying Forward – The Ampersand April 2020

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

First, a few personal observations. The big winners in this, best I can tell, are dogs.  Also, exercise matters. The Internet matters. Handshakes don’t. Sign-offs like “Sincerely” and “Regards” should forever be replaced with “Stay Safe” and “Be Well.” Kids and pets should run more often into the frame of otherwise important business calls. More conversations should start with How Are You?  No, really.  How Are You?  Long walks and saying ‘hi’ to your neighbour matter. Family, love, kindness, community matter. Patience, too. And home cooking. And humour. And honesty. And wine. Wine matters.

Clawing Back and Paying Forward - The Ampersand April 2020 • Cats Dogs meme

On the work front, it’s more complicated. I don’t have my MBA so I wasn’t able to dust off my old text book, Steps for Small Businesses to take During a Global Pandemic.  While we sheepishly admit this is our first Pandemic, we feel battle-tested from the 2008/09 financial crisis, the 2013 flood, and the ongoing 2015 through 2020 oil collapse. As with those adversities, when COVID 19 arrived, we didn’t dawdle. We buckled up, grabbed our shovels and sandbags and straightaway started building a protective perimeter around our business.  Our practice at coping with one-in-a-hundred year calamities is paying off.  We’re getting quite good at it, actually.

A flood is a fitting metaphor. Waste no time. Prioritize. Be decisive. Marshall all available resources.  Look only forward.  Do not sentimentalize. Ask for help. Park your pride. Push back. Be firm. Be laser focused on cash preservation, morale boosting and superb client service (values we subscribe to in non-Pandemic times, I should add).

What else have we done? Add value at every turn. Volunteer our time and expertise to existing clients, and new ones too. Send hand-written letters offering thoughts and help, dozens of them, to clients and candidates and suppliers.  Support our clients in big and small ways.  Like this exchange with the CEO of Parkland Fuel, a long-time client and owner of Fas Gas Fuel stations:

Clawing Back and Paying Forward - The Ampersand April 2020 • Espey Email

What else? We’re leveraging relationships, like the Chamber of Commerce.  Signing up for Webinars; leading some, following some.  Sharing our expertise with Panorama and AESC member firms. Facilitating secondments of our people to client sites to assist with the increased work load resulting from diminished headcounts, offering interim executive solutions for senior-level contract roles, and collaborating further with our amazing partners at Creative Coaching on a wide range of people-related matters targeted at life beyond the here and now (call us to learn more). Investing in technology to make us even more responsive and competitive.  Being opportunistic, not predatory, in grabbing market share. Trimming fat. Staying lean.  Being urgent without being panicked; purposeful without being paralyzed.  Undertaking the parallel task of removing all that can be salvaged from the proverbial house while shoring it up for the cresting waters to come.

So many trappings of a bygone time now discarded on the front lawn. Culligan Water service? Gone. Shred-It on-site?  Done.  Cable TV in partner offices?  Halted.  Parking at Gulf Canada Square.  Cancelled.  Twice-a-week cleaning service.  Now once.  Provincial and Federal Income Taxes?  Deferred.  Salaries?  Rolled-back. Temporary layoffs?  Sadly, implemented.  Rent? Due in full on the first of the month. Sort of. Wait. Wha?  Let’s explore that one just a bit further.

As soon as the dam broke and waters started rising, we proactively reached out to our landlord.  Our initial proposal: give us nine free months of rent now and tack nine months to the end of our term, coming due in March of 2024.  We get the relief we need at a time we need it; they get the term at a time they’ll need it (at current rental rates, not 2024 rates, which are assuredly to be lower).  That was initially met with this warm, fuzzy and supportive embrace:

Hi Adam,

I appreciate that these are extraordinary times, however the direction that I have received from [higher up] is that the terms of the Lease remain in effect, and rent is expected to be paid as it comes due. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Several, actually.

Why is it that at a time our cleaner, Jon Maxwell, on learning of our decision to curtail his shifts given our office is empty while we all work remotely, has the thoughtfulness to send us this note in response:


I totally understand. Just like the flood of years before, we’ll come through this fine as well. Looking forward to hearing from you on the other side. And feel free to ask if you need me to go in for a safety checkup…No charge when dealing with safety….


Jon Maxwell

JM Commercial Cleaning

How is that RedPoint Media, publishers of Avenue Magazine, among others, can reach out and offer a dirt cheap opportunity to get our message out on their social media platforms and have it turned around and live within 24 hours of reaching out?

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Why is it that the Calgary Parking Authority can waive its one month notice period and cancel our parking stall, immediately, without question?

Why is it that Xerox allows us to defer to our copier lease, WCB our premium payments, the Federal and Provincial Governments, our taxes!  Yet, our landlord carries on, business as usual charging full rent for an empty office that we’re not even allowed to access?

When you’re less empathetic than the Canada Revenue Agency and the Calgary Parking Authority, you are truly in some very exclusive company.

Upon pressing the landlord further, a couple days later, they softened their initial response, and followed up with this gem:


Our senior management team did a first review of the requests for rent relief on Friday afternoon. I hope to have an update for you in the coming weeks as the situation in Calgary becomes more clear.

Weeks?? Let’s hope when their landlording days are over, they don’t go on to be 9-1-1 dispatchers.

Their approach, thankfully, has been the exception, not the rule. Indeed, what’s been so heart-warming during these past few weeks is the coming together of supplier and client. For, really, most of us in business are both and how we behave as a supplier is how we’d want to be treated as a client. It’s been heartening to see the broader vendor community come together as it has.  Notice periods waived; due dates extended; relief, forgiveness and other immediate fixes implemented, almost without question.  And as others have done for us, we do for them. Postpone, forgive, reduce, delay. Pay forward.  Except, it would appear, our landlord.  Like a human chain filling and passing sandbags down the line, it only takes one selfish lout hopping out of cue to grab a smoke to mess up the entire process.

And then, a small miracle. At literally the moment we were set to hit ‘publish’ on this post, the landlord called and has conditionally, verbally, provisionally, accepted our initial abatement-for-term offer. They didn’t step out of line for that smoke, after all. The devil remains in the details but the signalling of a change in direction is appreciated and another positive sign of a community coming together; of what’s needed for all of us to make it to the other side.

Admittedly, it’s a struggle for us all, in these unprecedented times, to find not only the right words, but the right voice. We’re striving for urgency tempered with calm.  Too antagonistic with suppliers, and we risk being placed at the back of the line. Too aggressive in searching for work and we appear tone deaf and desperate. Too passive and we risk imperilling our firm’s financial health. We neither wish to skip and whistle through the graveyard, oblivious to the gravity of our circumstance; nor curl up under the bed and suck our thumbs succumbing and surrendering to the inevitability of a situation that we happen to believe remains very much in our control to influence. And so we walk the balance beam, seeking the just the right dosages – two parts honey, one part vinegar – striving to hit just the right notes.

Clawing Back and Paying Forward - The Ampersand April 2020 • Epoch Image

Happily, we’re not a restaurant or a bar. Those high velocity businesses that pay next week’s expenses with this week’s sales and, who, without a physical customer in the premises, are literally unable to work. In executive search, the cycle time is longer. And searches can be, and are being, done virtually. Though less preferable than normal times, there is quite literally nothing that can’t be done in the course of a virtual search process that need be done in person. Sure, it’s trickier to assess the proverbial cut of one’s jib over Zoom or FaceTime but it’s not impossible and you have us to rely upon for those insights, don’t forget. As Yoda might say, professional jib cut assessors, we are.

We are setting ourselves up to emerge from this stronger and more responsive than ever. As one of our long-time friends and clients noted upon learning of some of the cost-cutting steps we immediately undertook, including having to make the heart-wrenching decision to temporarily lay off his own daughter from our firm:

“On the other side of this will be, I think, a fundamentally altered business community.  The newness of it all should provide tremendous, unprecedented opportunity for you.  All of the corporate organization charts will be re-written.  Boxes will be erased, moved and added.  Taking the steps you’ve taken will help you get to that other side.  Being too conservative with cuts at this juncture puts your chances of enjoying the coming good days at risk.  So I am totally onside.”

I’ll say this; I’ve never been prouder to be Canadian, Albertan or a boutique firm owner. I’ve never been more comforted by the ability to control our destiny. We need only haggle with one landlord and worry about only one team, in one community; an incredible, thoughtful and caring community in which our roots are sunk deep. The last thing I would want to be right now is a giant global firm, clinging to minimum fees, underwriting offices in other stricken countries, at the mercy of global issues on a galactic scale, taking marching orders from leaders in faraway places, making decisions based on analysts’ reactions to a tanking share price.

Nope. I’ll take our chances right where we are, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, with exactly what we have. Thank you very much.


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Since 2007, Caroline has founded three companies in the healthcare sector. In 2016, Edelman, a global leader in communications and public relations, acquired her agency SIXDEGRÉS, a company specializing in medical communications and health marketing.

Throughout her career, she who acts now as Senior Stretegic Advisor at Humanis, has collaborated with over 50 major companies and associations for strategic national or international projects in the fields of life sciences, pharmaceuticals, health technology, and innovation.

She stands out for her strategic vision, collaborative leadership, and ability to achieve concrete results, which has earned her a finalist spot for the prestigious Quebec Businesswoman Award. Frequently sought by the media as an expert, she comments on entrepreneurship and business.

Caroline holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Sherbrooke, with a concentration in microbiology, a certificate in marketing, and an Executive MBA from the University of Quebec in Montreal.

An athlete, she advocates for a healthy work-life balance, which she believes is essential for happiness and success in business.


As a Senior Strategic Advisor at Humanis Montreal, Hooman leverages his extensive experience and cross-industry credentials to assist premier organizations in identifying and connecting with high-performing executives. His role involves bridging these high performers in his trusted network with opportunities that align with their culture and aspirations, ensuring successful placements and long-term success.

With over 25 years of experience at top international consulting firms, he has advised senior executives and delivered complex global transformation efforts for CFOs and Treasurers. His expertise spans business transformation, enterprise systems selection, implementation and integration, financial planning, and reporting. He has worked with dynamic global companies across various industries including asset management, banking and financial services, insurance, real estate, and high-technology manufacturing.

Hooman owns a CMA-MBA in Accounting, Management and Finance from UQAM, and a Bachelor's degree in Accounting and Management Information Systems from McGill University. His personal and academic journey has taken him across multiple continents, allowing him to become proficient in French, English, and Spanish, and conversant in Italian and Farsi. He is a proud and present father of three, and cherishes spending time with friends and family, engaging in active sports, and sharing sharp opinions on politics, economics, and life outlooks.


Adam is the Founding Partner of Pekarsky & Co., the predecessor firm to Humanis, and has been recruiting executives and advising Boards for nearly 25 years.

A writer, sessional instructor at the University of Calgary, and frequent speaker, Adam has achieved success as a member of the management team of a national law firm, a partner in a global executive search firm and, once upon a time, a practicing lawyer. Formerly, Adam was a Client Partner in the Calgary office of Korn/Ferry International.

Adam holds a law degree from the University of Alberta and completed his undergraduate studies at Tufts University in Boston where he attained summa cum laude distinction for his undergraduate thesis.

Adam spent six years on the Board of Directors of Tourism Calgary, eight years on the YMCA of Calgary Board and is currently chairing a Camp Chief Hector Capital Campaign raising $17m. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation and chairs the HR Committee.


Cameron is a Partner at Humanis and brings more than 15 years’ experience within executive search. His experience extends to recruiting senior talent across corporate services and operations within oil and gas, oilfield services, financial services, manufacturing, real estate and construction, as well as non-profit.

He began his search career in Sydney, Australia, joining a leading international firm straight out of university.

In 2010, Cameron moved to Calgary spending more than 6 years within the retained search practice of a national integrated talent development firm, recruiting permanent roles across numerous functions and industries, as well as leading the firm’s interim search practice. In 2017, he joined Pekarsky & Co., Humanis Calgary’s predecessor.

Cameron is active in the community volunteering his time with numerous charitable organizations including The Calgary Stampede’s Courtesy Car Committee and the Executive Committee for The Top 7 Over 70 Awards Program.

Once active in Calgary’s rugby and cricket scene, now Cameron spends most of his time enjoying the outdoors and spending time with his wife and three kids.


As Managing Partner of Humanis, Calgary, Ranju leads the management and operations of the office and executive searches with an expertise in C-Suite and for-profit Board searches. She leads the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion initiatives and is a member of the Americas Council for the Association of Executive Search Consultants, a global association leading the search industry in best practices and innovation. Ranju’s Board involvement includes her current role as Vice-Chair for the Calgary Convention Centre Authority, and past Chair of the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association Board. She was honored to be awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal (Alberta) in 2022 and acquired her ICD.D designation in 2023 from the University of Toronto Rotman School of Business.

Ranju joined the firm in 2009 with a 16-year career in environmental sciences. Previously, she was the Senior Vice President, Corporate Services for an organization with remediation and reclamation services and teams across Western Canada. Ranju acquired her Bachelor of Science and Graduate degree in Environmental Toxicology from Simon Fraser University and enjoys international travel as well as spending time outdoors.


Susie joined Humanis in 2016. She brings a diverse background in the recruitment, healthcare and professional services industries. Susie draws from her past experiences as an entrepreneur, Chartered Accountant and Registered Nurse to bring both technical and business understanding to each client engagement.  

As a CPA herself, Susie naturally leads the majority of the firm’s senior level finance and accounting searches. Over the past few years, she has also enjoyed leading the annual Board recruitment for a number of vital not-for-profit organizations serving diverse communities across Calgary. Susie is known to her clients and candidates for her dedicated professionalism, business acumen and expertise in matching talent to client needs.  

Prior to joining Humanis, Susie worked as a Search Manager with a national search and consulting firm where she specialized in placing finance and accounting leaders.   

After completing her Business degree, Susie worked with KPMG Calgary where she obtained her Chartered Accountant designation.
Susie Besler


Neel is a Research Associate with Humanis where he brings a global perspective into the firm’s research initiatives and specializes in market research across various industries. Originally from Tanzania, Neel holds a degree in Bachelor of Management from the University of British Columbia.

Neel initially gained experience as an Analyst with a marketing agency. He holds an EKT-Interactive certification in Oil and Gas, Renewable Energies, and Hydrogen Energy. Additionally, he possesses an Executive Research Certificate from the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants.

Neel resonates as a third-cultured kid and values cultural diversity at his core given his upbringing living in East Africa. He actively contributes to community development, serving as an alumni advisory member for the UBC Afro Caribbean Association to continue his efforts in promoting cultural understanding.

Intrigued by architecture, he capitalizes on his artistic intuition by exploring oil on canvas or using Sketch Up. Tennis, sailing, boxing, and soccer are where Neel channels his competitive spirit.


Kate is a Consultant with Humanis Talent Acquisition & Advisory and executes on various searches within the legal, not-for-profit, marketing & communications and professional services sectors, among others.

Prior to joining the firm, Kate worked as a purchaser for a local equine retail company where she was a key component to the buying team as well as assisting in all aspects of customer service.

Kate holds a Bachelor of Communication & Culture from the University of Calgary. In a previous life, Kate was a competitive showjumper and coach. She competed across Western Canada and worked with amateur riders in developing their skills both on and off the horse.

Outside of work, Kate is an avid distance runner, beginner surfer and travel enthusiast. When she’s not embarking on a new adventure, she can be found with her nose in a book and loves to travel back home to Calgary as often as she can to visit friends and family.


Kiara is the Director of Marketing & Administration at Humanis Talent Acquisition & Advisory, driving dynamic strategies across social media, website, events, and our widely read blog, The Ampersand. As a co-host of The Ampersand: Unplugged podcast, Kiara explores issues that impact human capital and, more broadly, the human condition. With a solid foundation in marketing strategy through her diverse previous roles, Kiara has spearheaded the marketing function of Humanis including refining brand identities, developing targeted campaigns, and implementing innovative digital marketing initiatives to drive engagement and growth.

With a BBA in Marketing and Finance from Mount Royal University, including a transformative study abroad semester in Australia, she elevated her expertise with an MBA from the University of Calgary in 2023.

Beyond the boardroom, Kiara energizes her life with fitness classes and travelling. Her passion for exploration extends to immersing herself in new cultures, savoring cuisines, exploring stunning views, and connecting with diverse people worldwide.


Breanne Giasson is the newest addition to the team at Humanis Talent Acquisition & Advisory as our Office Administrator, providing administrative support to all team members.

Before joining the firm, Breanne gained experience working in office settings to advance her skills in administrative support and also worked in customer service.

With a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Mount Royal University, Breanne graduated on both the Dean’s and President’s honour rolls, showcasing her dedication to academic excellence. During her studies, Breanne developed and honed her writing, editing, and research skills, which will be valuable assets in her role here at Humanis.

Breanne’s passion for social issues, both on local and global scales, drives her to make a positive impact in the world through her work and personal life.

Outside of work, Breanne is an avid reader, TV enthusiast, and pop culture aficionado. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and taking her dog (“son”), Arnold, on walks.


Erin is a Senior Consultant at Humanis where she leads executive search mandates across a wide variety of industries and functional roles. As a lawyer herself, she brings expertise in legal executive search. She also routinely leads executive searches across the not-for-profit, tourism & hospitality, professional and financial services, utilities and energy industries, among others. Prior to joining Humanis, Erin was a corporate lawyer at one of Canada’s most prestigious national corporate law firms. She was called to the bar in 2015 and remains a member of the Law Society of Alberta.

Erin is a lifelong learner and spent the better part of a decade in post-secondary education. She holds a and a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. As part of her studies, she spent time living abroad in France, India, Italy, Israel and Hong Kong, and brings connections and friendships from all around the globe. Erin has also invested in continuous professional development, completing a Certificate in Executive Research from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), the international body that sets the standard for the executive search and leadership consulting profession. She is also part of the Humanis leadership development team, and is certified to administer and use Hogan Assessments, a leading series of psychometric assessments, in both the search selection and leadership development contexts.

Before Erin entered the professional world, she grew up on the family grain farm outside of Kindersley, Saskatchewan. To this day, picking rocks for hours on end on the back of her dad’s pickup truck remains the hardest “job” she has ever held. She takes that prairie work ethic into each search and leadership consulting mandate she takes on, leaving no stone unturned. Erin is an active member of her church community and has volunteered for many years as a Mentor for internationally trained lawyers with CRIEC, the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council. When Erin is not on the hunt for an organization’s next leader, she can be found spending time with friends and family, adventuring in the mountains, or researching the latest health study.


Rachel is a Research Associate with Humanis. She provides support throughout the search process by sourcing suitable candidates and researching revenant information from salary insights to market trends across a variety of industries. 

Joining in early 2024, Rachel brought three years of contingent recruitment experience with her. Working with both general contractors and owners, she successfully executed various searches in the civil construction sector. Prior to recruitment, Rachel also spent close to four years in logistics and supply chain working for a third-party company. 

Outside of work, Rachel volunteers with the Calgary Drop-In Center. Additionally, she has an interest in interior design. Rachel enjoys getting creative and exploring the elements that create beautiful and functional spaces.


For over 15 years, René has been trusted by countless private sector organizations with the task of overseeing full-cycle executive search mandates. He is passionate about the recruitment industry and is actively involved in every aspect of the search process, including business development, research, interviewing, candidate assessments, and client management. René has placed top executives for leading organizations in a variety of industries within the Western Canadian market. He believes in the value of his client partnerships and strives to ensure that every client experience is a positive and memorable one.

René holds a BA with a Psychology major from the University of Alberta. He most recently sat on the boards of Alberta Forward and the Edmonton Ski Club, and is the past Vice Chair of Kids Up Front Edmonton. He donates his time to youth leadership initiatives in his community, and outside of work can be found on a ski hill or relaxing at the lake and spending time with his wife and two daughters.


Max boasts over a decade of expertise and experience in executive recruitment, corporate sponsorship, and business and relationship development – during which he has amassed in-depth knowledge of North America’s corporate and sporting landscape.

As a former three sport varsity athlete, Max was able to bring the corporate and sporting worlds together through earning an MBA with an emphasis in sports management from Griffith University – which led to a position in Corporate Partnerships with the Edmonton Oilers.

Max then began his executive search career at Conroy Ross Partners with a focus in finance, sales, and marketing. After leading the Canadian operations of SRI, a global boutique recruitment firm focused on sports, media, and entertainment, Max co-founded the Toronto-based leadership development company Won for All.

In addition to sharing his passion for staying active with his daughters Stella and Ada, Max also sits on the board of Luge Canada.


Diane is a proven and genuine leader with over 30 years of leadership experience. As Managing Partner of Humanis, Edmonton Diane manages all corporate functions, including finance and accounting, marketing, IT, legal, and privacy, while overseeing the achievement of the firm’s annual strategic plan.

Before joining Humanis, Diane spent a decade as the Chief Administrative Officer for a national HR talent management firm, playing a strategic operational role that saw the organization grow and be successfully acquired during her tenure. She also spent 20 years in various senior management positions in lending and finance with one of the Top 5 Canadian banks.

Diane is closely involved with the Edmonton community and actively participates in numerous local causes. She previously served as the Chair of Fundraising for the Festival of Trees Foundation and is a longstanding member of the Medical Admission Review Group at the University of Alberta, where she conducts reviews and interviews for medical school admissions during the annual admission cycle.


A Partner with Humanis Edmonton, Raj brings over a decade of search related experience. He began his career in recruitment in 2012 working for a global firm specializing in the placement of senior-level accounting, finance and business systems professionals on a project and interim basis.

Managing the consulting practice in Edmonton, Raj was able to provide companies with cost-effective project-based resource solutions and staff augmentation services to meet project needs in areas including accounting, finance, interim management, business systems, audit & compliance, taxation, treasury, and operations management. His experience extends to recruiting senior talent across corporate services and operations within oilfield services, financial services, manufacturing, real estate, construction, and non-profit.

Raj serves as a Board member for the Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta, YMCA of Edmonton, and Free Play for Kids.

Raj holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta with a Major in Accounting.

Outside of work, he spends most of his time with his wife Pam and their two boys, Arryn and Naiyan.


Nathan is a Research Coordinator at Humanis Advisory and a proud graduate of the University of Alberta. While obtaining his Bachelor of Commerce Degree, Nathan began working as a recruiter at a Canadian bank where he developed a passion for building relationships and growing his network.

You will often find Nathan enjoying all the thrills that Edmonton has to offer. Whether that be cheering on the Oilers or biking through the river valley, Nathan is an advocate for the city. His world revolves around sports, including hockey, golf, and football. He channels this competitive spirit through his work, as Nathan carries his values of teamwork, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of success in every project he takes on.


Meet Stephanie, your dedicated guide in the world of talent acquisition. With a passion for connecting great individuals and companies, she brings a wealth of experience as a registered professional recruiter. Stephanie has cultivated robust relationships with candidates and hiring managers across diverse fields, utilizing her expertise in sourcing, selection, behavioral interviewing, salary negotiations, onboarding, offboarding, and relationship management to turn our clients' corporate visions into reality.

Stephanie is a dynamic individual who understands the importance of weaving personal passions into her professional journey. She values the human side of the business, making the search process efficient and enjoyable.

Beyond the professional realm, Stephanie is a firm believer in the balance between work, family, and enjoyment. You'll find her unwinding in the great outdoors through camping, skiing, and hiking with family. Committed to making a positive impact, she dedicates her time to volunteering for the Canadian Diabetes Society and has served as the treasurer and fundraiser for sport clubs and served on many community initiatives.


Madison Bessette serves as a Research Coordinator at Humanis Advisory. Madison is currently studying in the Bachelor of Commerce program at the University of Alberta where she is majoring in accounting and minoring in finance. Her passion for learning and connecting with others is what has driven her towards the talent acquisition space, where she strives to broaden her knowledge on all things search.

In addition to her academic activities, Madison engages in a variety of extracurricular activities on campus. As the President of the Business Speaker Series Club and the Director of Marketing for the Venture Capital and Private Equity Club, Madison values the opportunity to connect with her peers and make meaningful connections. In her free time, Madison unwinds by participating in hot yoga and indulging in fantasy novels.


Jamie is a Research Associate at Humanis Talent Acquisition & Advisory. Her expertise is in mapping markets, developing and implementing candidate research and outreach strategies, building talent pools, and fostering relationships. She takes a special interest in curating positive candidate experiences and inclusive and accessible hiring practices.

With a BA in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, she brings to the firm nearly a decade of experience in global executive search in the international non-profit and humanitarian sector, including UN agencies, development banking, and environmental and sustainability organizations. For three years, she ran her own business coaching and guiding senior-level candidates through their job searches.

When she’s not at work, Jamie enjoys third-wave coffee, writing, gardening, and horror movies. In a previous life, she traveled to over 35 countries and lived and worked/volunteered in Australia, New Zealand, India, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, and the United Kingdom.


Mr. Yanouk Poirier has over 25 years of professional experience and has successfully led numerous missions in executive recruitment, leadership consulting, and board member recruitment for SMEs, large national and international companies. Highly involved, Mr. Poirier sits on the boards of Penrhyn International, Club St-James in Montreal, and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation. He also serves as a mentor and Governor for the University of Sherbrooke. Yanouk describes himself as a family man, a father, an entrepreneur, and a connector. He deeply believes that we can change the world one leader at a time and that we have a responsibility to give back to society.

Holder of an MBA from the University of Sherbrooke, Yanouk also holds a post-MBA focusing on major global strategic issues. He is certified in executive coaching (ACC) by the International Coaching Federation.


For over 20 years, Cynthia Labonté has been assisting boards of directors, corporate executives and public organizations in the complete management of executive search processes. Previously, she led a team of senior managers and consultants at a major Canadian strategic consulting and executive search firm.

She has successfully completed over 350 executive search mandates for leading companies and firms in the manufacturing, industrial, distribution, retail, professional services and not-for-profit sectors. Her entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen, rigor and analytical skills are essential attributes that enable her to recognize the unique culture and needs of organizations, and to analyze the leadership required to meet her clients' business challenges.

Ms. Labonté is a member of EntreChefs (a network of over 2,000 entrepreneurs in Quebec). Cynthia is very involved in Montreal's philanthropic community, actively participating on boards and in many local causes.

She holds a double MBA from Université Paris-Dauphine and from ESG-UQAM in Montreal.


Robin Ferré is an executive search consultant.

Prior to joining Humanis, Robin worked as a consultant and then as a director for a major player in executive search in Canada, where he worked in a variety of sectors including professional services, technology and manufacturing.

Prior to this, he worked in various organizations in Europe and Canada, in human resources and recruitment functions.

In his spare time, Robin is very involved in his community. He is a board member of the Société Économique de l’Ontario and the Alliance Française de Toronto.

He's also a big fan of combat sports, which he likes to practice or simply watch after a good dinner with his loved ones.

Robin Ferré holds a bachelor's degree in Law and a master's degree in Human Resources.


Maria Icaza is from Mexico City; she has more than 13 years of experience in executive search. She has collaborated with partners on senior management roles up to C-Suite positions in the manufacturing, consumer, retail, pharmaceutical, industrial and professional services industry. She has been working in Mexico and Canada, nevertheless she did some assignments in Latin-America, Europe, and in the United States.

She has strong interpersonal skills and naturally attracts high-caliber talents. Besides her love for connecting with people, she aims to learn new things every day. Committed and devoted to the firm, she understands the talent market and thrives from being part of a team.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Universidad del Valle de Mexico.  

Fluent in Spanish and English, and in French (in development).


Stéphanie has been working in communications and research for over 10 years. Always looking for the right word, she specialized in writing, translating, and proofreading. She has also worked on many search mandates. Her favourite topic remains human beings: exploring their potential fascinates her.

A true chameleon, she has worked within various industries and still deals equally with executive and artistic profiles. Her strength lies in her curiosity and her listening skills towards her collaborators.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Literature from Université de Lorraine (France) and attaches great importance to improving her linguistic and literary knowledge. Sensitive to art in all its forms and creative, she draws inspiration from those who dare to stand out.

A mother to two young children, education and openness to the world remain at the heart of her priorities. During her free time, nothing pleases her more than to welcome at her table people who are authentic and have a great sense of humour. 


Richard Bélanger is a senior consultant who has extensive experience in high-level management which has allowed him to support several types of businesses in different industries and sectors, mainly in executive search but also in their succession planning process.

His experience of more than 25 years in the field of executive recruitment was acquired within his own firm as well as with a major Canadian strategic consulting and executive search firm.

Richard was President of a subsidiary of a key retailer and distributor of consumer products and catalog sales in Canada.

He serves on different Boards of Administration and has developed an enviable network based on his personal values which are authenticity, rigor, and a sense of ethics. His people skills and his ability to actively listen combined with his managerial courage allow him to ensure that the needs of his customers are understood.
Richard Bélanger


Mackenzie Boessenkool is a Research Coordinator at Humanis Advisory and a graduate of the University of Alberta, where she studied Psychology and Economics. Combining her knowledge in these fields, Mackenzie dives into talent acquisition, focusing on the human aspect being the process.

Beyond her professional role, Mackenzie enjoys sports, live music events, exploring Edmonton’s various cultural offerings, and is always looking for a new experience to try. She finds joy in connecting with her community and has a genuine interest in people. Mackenzie is dedicated to fostering meaningful relationships and strives for success every step of the way.